Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Arrest All Mimics interviews Digital Arts editor Neil Bennett

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017


Digital Arts editor Neil Bennett joins Ben Tallon to take a look at where the creative industry is today and where it’s heading during a time of fast-paced technological developments, talking about staying current and finding the right balance of creativity and strong ideas in creative work.

They discuss the magazines transition from print publication to digital magazine and why classic methods of getting your work noticed still hold up in today’s industry.

Diversity in the arts and disability first design are two big topics as they address new, old and forward thinking.

Listen now! And get your ideas over on twitter at @arrestallmimics.

The Bad Bunnies’ Magic Show

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Written and Illustrated by Mini Grey

ISBN: 978-1-4711-5760-8

Published by Simon & Schuster

Reviewed by Karl Andy Foster


Welcome to a Magic Show! The prominent red curtain and display font title in red and gold introduces us to the world of performance. Two wide-eyed Bunnies, Abra and Cadabra bookend an upturned top hat, they appear harmless enough (however one of them does seem a bit inept with a saw). The Octopus tentacle entering in the top left corner is a bit of a worry though. Could it mean trouble for our protagonists?

Drawing upon her work in the theatre, building scenery, props, puppets and painting backdrops Mini Grey has produced a visually rich and exciting story.

It works on two levels, the first showing how our naughty (or should that be delinquent) Bunnies take over the theatre to cause mayhem while in the second we see how The Great Hypno restores the status quo. The language used to rhyme with ‘Hey Presto!’ is humourous and plays with our expectations. Text is large, bold and spare. It works well with the visual structure of the narrative. I’m sure that children will love reading this picture book aloud with an adult and exclaim every time the die-cut or fold out pages reveal surprises. Simon and Schuster have invested wisely in the quality of this publication.


The illustrations have a spikey energy. Grey draws animals beautifully. Her Octopus and Tiger are full of personality and wit. Subtle shading helps with the simplicity and directness of the drawing. The environment is shallow and this adds to the tension in the scenes. Grey cleverly arranges for the wings and backstage to be in view so that the secondary story can play out. This is show business and the Bunnies want to be stars of the show.

The characters are well defined but at the same time understated. Stand out images are the first spread where The Great Hypno encounters the determined Bunnies, the knife throwing scene that made me laugh out loud, when they literally saw in half the lovely Brenda and the final cannon blast fold out!


Kate Greenaway Medal nominee Grey has created a riotous and raucous adventure that leaves me asking a few questions. Are the duo truly thieves or merely pranksters? Is their anarchy natural exuberance or something more sinister? I suspect they are simply good friends who can’t help but lead each other on. The inclusion of the misquote from ‘The Italian Job’ is a wonderful way to complete the story. We can be certain of one thing, the Bunnies will be back.


You may also be interested in these reviews:

Here Comes Mr Postmouse


Who are the nation’s favourite illustrators?

Friday, July 14th, 2017

For the first time ever PLR announces the most borrowed illustrators from UK public libraries, and includes AOI Patrons Shirley Hughes, Oliver Jeffers, Mick Inkpen, Quentin Blake and member Alex T Smith.

Data released today by Public Lending Right (PLR) shows the 50 most borrowed illustrators from UK public libraries. The 50 illustrators include pre-school favourites such as Quentin Blake and Shirley Hughes as well the current Children’s Laureate Lauren Child. The top three illustrators, Tony Ross, Nick Sharratt and Axel Scheffler all had over one million loans.

Speaking of his delight at being the most borrowed illustrator Tony Ross commented:

“WOW! That is wonderful, although I would think I have had some help from fantastic authors, such as Jeanne Willis, David Walliams, and Francesca Simon. Thank you library users. I’m surprised, proud, and delighted!”


“It’s wonderful that the success of illustrators is now recognised in this PLR ranking,”  said Children’s Laureate Lauren Child. “Illustrations play such a significant role in the enjoyment of books and libraries play such an important role in bringing books to children throughout society. The recognition that PLR now offers illustrators for their work is a much welcome and important step in highlighting the unique contribution of the illustrator to the success of the book.”

The PLR list of most borrowed illustrators was welcomed by Sarah McIntyre of Pictures Mean Business:

“Money earned from PLR is a real lifeline to so many hardworking illustrators, but most of the people who tell stories through pictures in books struggle to build a name for themselves professionally. I’m thrilled to learn the PLR team have compiled a list of the top 50 most borrowed illustrators from UK public libraries! I hope one day in the near future, publishers will update their data systems and people will be able to find this information on illustrators as easily as they can find it on writers.”

Top 50 Most Borrowed Illustrators, 2015/16

1. Tony Ross 18. David Melling 35. Guy Parker-Rees

2. Nick Sharratt 19. Michael Foreman 36. Sophy Williams

3. Axel Scheffler 20. Emma Chichester Clark 37. Jez Alborough

4. Alex Brychta 21. Sue Hendra 38. Dr Seuss

5. Quentin Blake 22. Adrian Reynolds 39. Jill Murphy

6. Mick Inkpen 23. Roger Hargreaves 40. Lee Wildish

7. Korky Paul 24. Martin Brown 41. Tim Warnes

8. Lucy Cousins 25. Ben Cort 42. Stephen Cartwright

9. Liz Pichon 26. Rod Campbell 43. Shirley Hughes

10. David Roberts 27. Garry Parsons 44. Anthony Browne

11. Lydia Monks 28. Jean Adamson 45. Chris Riddell

12. Eric Hill 29. Roger Priddy 46. Mike Gordon

13. Rachel Wells 30. Emily Gravett 47. Eric Carle

14. David McKee 31. Oliver Jeffers 48. Sam Lloyd

15. Emma Dodd 32. Georgie Ripper 49. Jane Chapman

16. Lauren Child 33. Debi Gliori 50. Alex T Smith

17. Steve Smallman 34. Dav Pilkey

PLR is run by the British Library and gives authors the legal right to receive payment from government each time their books are loaned through the public library system. In February 2017 PLR distributed £6 million to 22,202 authors at a Rate Per Loan of 7.82 pence.

Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook with Fig Taylor

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

The AOI’s Portfolio Consultant, Fig Taylor, has once again contributed her invaluable insights to the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2018 edition. Fig has written on Freelancing for Beginners and Selling Yourself and Your Work Online. Both are listed in the Art And Illustration section of the Yearbook.


‘Freshly Pressed’ Print Fair At The Civic

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Saturday 15 July 2017, between 10am and 4pm.

Admission is free.

The Civic, Hanson Street, Barnsley, S70 2HZ

Freshly Pressed is a new print fair for South Yorkshire and the latest addition in the region’s calendar of markets for artists, artisans and lovers of all things hand-crafted.


Image: Josephine Dellow – Shops Mug

The Civic’s Freshly Pressed will feature stalls selling contemporary art, illustration and photographic prints, printed textiles and homewares and the best of local published books and zines from Barnsley and around the region.

There will also be live music and spoken word performances all day for all to enjoy for free. The line-up features; The Delicateers, songwriter Del Scott Miller, Lewy and Dal from The Rolling Down Hills, folk musician and poet Ray Hearne, poet Jethro Platts and singer songwriter Tom Masters.

Sarah Harris - Beneath Emley Moor Mast

Image: Sarah Harris – Beneath Emley Moor Mast

Supertato: Run Veggies Run – book review

Monday, July 10th, 2017

By Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet

Published by Simon & Schuster Children’s UK ISBN 1471121038

Reviewed by Simon Whittaker


We’re big fans of Sue Hendra in our house. We’ve done Barry, Norman, Keith and Doug, but for some reason, we’ve missed out on Supertato previously. Supertato – Run, veggies, run, is the third book in the series (not counting the story released for World Book Day in 2016) and finds Supertato organising a sports day for the fruit and veg in the supermarket. The promise of prizes is enough to get everyone to take part, but the Evil Pea decides he wants the prizes for himself and concocts an evil scheme…


I read this book with my daughter who’s four and as her first introduction to the series she really enjoyed it. She couldn’t pick out a favourite bit of the story because she liked it all, but she did pick out the Evil Pea as her favourite character because “he’s silly, he thinks he can dash”, and she was happily pointing out background characters she found amusing throughout.


I really liked it too – the story is fun, the illustrations are bright, colourful and energetic. Sue has quite a distinctive illustrative style, so if you’ve read any of her previous books you’ll have a good idea what to expect. Coincidentally, the Evil Pea was my favourite too, and we’ll be picking up the other books in the series to see if there’s an origin story there somewhere.


You may also be interested in these book reviews:

Two Can

Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats

Shirley Hughes at 90 – A life in books and pictures

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

12 July – 12 August

Illustrationcupboard Gallery, 22 Bury St, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6AL

The Christmas Eve Ghost

The Christmas Eve Ghost

Illustrationcupboard Gallery celebrates Shirley Hughes’s 90th birthday with a display of original artwork and books celebrating the enormous and un-equalled contribution this much-loved artist, AOI Patron and writer has made to the life and soul of Great Britain over her lifetime.

The exhibition will feature a selection of Shirley’s original artwork – watercolour, gouache and drawings from variety of her books and novels including the famous Dogger, the Alfie series of books, My Naughty Little Sister, Daisy Saves the Day, Jonadab and Rita, Peter Pan and The Secret Garden, as well as more ranging books such as Stories By Firelight and her recent most successful novel, Hero on a Bicycle. Alongside the artwork will be a display of many of the books which Shirley has illustrated over her long and illustrious career. Many of these are now out of print and have become collector’s items allowing visitors to see these first editions for the very first time.

Places of the Mind: British watercolour landscapes 1850–1950

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

23 February – 27 August 2017

Room 90, Free British Museum, London

Paul Nash (1889–1946), The Wanderer, also called Path through trees (detail). Watercolour with blue chalk and graphite, 1911. Presented by the Contemporary Art Society.

Paul Nash (1889–1946), The Wanderer, also called Path through trees (detail). Watercolour with blue chalk and graphite, 1911. Presented by the Contemporary Art Society.

Places of the Mind: British watercolour landscapes 1850–1950 will display a selection of stunning works from the rich collection of the British Museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings to examine the ways artists interpreted landscape on paper during the Victorian and early Modern period. It is the first exhibition to focus on landscape drawing during this era and challenges the perception that the ‘Great Age of British Watercolours’ ended with the death of Turner in 1851.

Over half of the 125 works on display have never been published or exhibited before. They range from highly coloured, detailed Pre-Raphaelite attempts by George Price Boyce and Alfred William Hunt to follow John Ruskin’s precepts to ‘go to nature’, to sweeping wash sketches painted on the spot by James McNeill Whistler and Philip Wilson Steer, to the abstractions from reality of artists like Graham Sutherland and Henry Moore who followed a different aesthetic.

MARCH – book review

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin

Illustrated by Nate Powell

Published by Top Shelf Productions an imprint of IDW Publishing

Reviewed by Karl Andy Foster


Sometimes there are two Americas. This has been said many times.

The American politician John Lewis was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He was one of the “Big Six” leaders of groups who organized the 1963 March on Washington, played many key roles in the Civil Rights Movement and its actions to end racial segregation in the United States. Today he is the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district, serving since 1987.

Published in three parts this graphic novel helps the reader to understand the distinct phases of John Lewis’ career in activism:

- Book One: Lunch counter sit ins
- Book Two: Freedom Rides and the March on Washington (including Lewis’ most famous speech)
- Book Three: Voter Rights, 1964 US Election (The election of L.B. Johnson) and the 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery


The novel begins with the Inauguration of Barack Obama’s as the 44th US President. This is used as a counterpoint for Lewis’ activities in his earlier life linked to desegregation and emancipation. These events take place from 1940 – 2009 during possibly the most extraordinary period of US history.

John Lewis as a young man is called to seek justice by the voice of God. He believes in non-violent protest at a time where universal hostility towards black people by the US system and the white population was the order of the day. It was a radical departure. Living by the simple notion that he must engage peacefully with people who feared change and denied the possibility that African Americans could ever be their equal. He and many others challenged the segregation of the American South that had existed since the abolition of slavery. The further South he travels the more he is drawn into the heart of darkness.


It is a tale of bravery and conviction at a time when one’s courage and beliefs could mean the loss of one’s job, personal injury, imprisonment or death. At this time the death of an African American was not a priority for investigators. The South was a place littered with victims of hatred and white supremacist ideology. It took the murders of white activists in Mississippi to bring the media running. It’s a story that suggests that things can improve, that ignorance can be overcome, that Government can make concessions and enforce the law.


The black and white illustrations capture the period and the intensity of the movements in their desire for progressive change. The scenes of the Church bombing in Birmingham are vivid, and the expression of the dignity of oppressed peaceful protestors comes across well. These images set the scene for a world that revolved around the actions of CORE, NAACP, SCLC and SNCC. There were natural rivalries and divisions but these were mostly generational. All agreed that change was necessary – it was the speed of the change that fueled the debates.

John Lewis survived this tumultuous period despite others close to him paying the ultimate price. The message from the novel asks “What would you be prepared to do or risk for what is right?” The leaders Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., opposites who became social activists rather than purely racial champions, both died for the same ideal.

It is said that the trilogy was given extra coverage and sales thanks to John Lewis’ spat with the 45th US President. For many the current US situation demands a return to the protests that shaped our present and may protect our future.

You may also be interested in these book reviews:


Ronald Searle’s America

Visions of Colour – exhibition

Friday, June 30th, 2017

29 June – 16 August 2017

TheGallery, AUB, Wallisdown, Poole, Dorset BH12 5HH

Wallisdown, Poole, Dorset
BH12 5HH

Curated by Lisa Richardson


Work created by MA Illustration students in response to the Matisse: Drawing with Scissors exhibition, shown at TheGallery, Arts University Bournemouth.

Through this exhibition these illustrators explore and celebrate flatness, colour, pattern and form. They have considered the motifs and the subject matter that are fundamental to their own illustration practice and related these to the ‘paper cut-outs’

Exhibiting Artists

Katie Andrews/Alexandros Andrianopoulos/Gideon Bohannon/Lana Charara/Yu-Ting Cheng/Laura Huartson/ Rebecca Janeb (Becky)/Rosan Magar/Ryoko Matsukura/ Nahyung Park/Yan Qinyuan/Jenni Saarenkyla/Daniel Shen/ Terry Stimpson-Peay/Nicola Stockley/Olga Waller/Graham Wood/Jiaqi Wu/Ran You