Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The BFG in Pictures – exhibition of original Quentin Blake illustrations

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross London N1C 4BH

Until 2 Oct 2016, 10:00am – 6:00pm

The exhibition, curated by AOI Patron Quentin Blake, contains 40 original artworks, including unpublished illustrations prepared for Roald Dahl’s classic story The BFG which have never been exhibited in public before.

BFG_QuentinBlake

The illustrations were included in first designs but were not used when the book was published for the first time in 1982. They provide a unique insight into the character development of one of the most iconic characters in children’s literature.

These unpublished illustrations are exhibited alongside the final illustrations for the book, providing a fascinating insight into the collaboration between author and illustrator, and a glimpse of a BFG that might have been …

What Do Grown-Ups Do All Day? – book review

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Illustrated and written by Virginie Morgand

Published by Wide Eyed Editions (An imprint of Quarto Publishing Group) ISBN 9781847808097

Reviewed by Karl Andy Foster

What_cover

The cover shows a debossed oblong with the title and author’s name, and the blue field of the cover is populated by 25 plus figures all travelling from left to right, as if to suggest we are all going somewhere. Where? Work, that’s where.

There is no story, instead the focus is on a series of locations populated by working people and then the specific roles performed by these people in those locations. It gives us a sense of the wealth of activities that are possible in the world of grown ups. The Illustrations work as spreads showing the location first then followed by a spread highlighting the roles of the individuals who are featured in the previous location. The useful book structure allows the reader to dip in or go straight to locations of most interest. Contents pages and index help with this orientation. In a nod to Martin Hanford’s Where’s Wally/Waldo? there is the added game of can you spot the performer of each job. This is a great way to engage early readers.

What_spread1

The individuals featured in the book are diverse and the gender roles assigned are progressive. There are North American sensibilities in the use of language for job titles, which will be intentional for an international market.

The book is aimed at children aged five plus, but it should also appeal to older students due to its visual sophistication. There is a good balance of text to image ratio that allows the illustrations to breath in the space. Nice to see the text is set in Futura, my favourite sans serif typeface, perfect for reading aloud and legible for those who might struggle with reading. The prose doesn’t rhyme, which is a good thing, but it does have a rhythm that aids reading aloud and is easy for children to memorise with its tuneful pacing.

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The illustrations are based on the screen-printing process, but are in fact constructed through digital means. The matt printing on uncoated paper adds to the handmade screen print feel, however in some cases the dark skinned characters facial expressions are hard to read. The colours are subtle with just enough primaries on show to reflect the intended audience for this book. The illustrations are indebted to the work of Miroslav Sasek from the covers of his famous This is… book series. Even though the images are more geometric and closer to textile designs the energy and boldness reminds me of the work in Katherina Manolessou’s book T-Veg.

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Locations are well represented with a farm, construction site, gym, action jobs pages and the great outdoors (this works as two locations, on the left page the seaside and on the right page the mountains. Cutaways work well and add something to the concept allowing the reader to explore and find the action within the illustrations. Repeated viewing is rewarded as further details and mastery in the use of colour are revealed.

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Author Virginie Morgand has used the large format well, creating busy energetic images that are carefully controlled to communicate her intended message. This is to show the vast array of careers that adults are engaged in and the appeal of this to the imagination of young minds. Some locations, the school, the shops, will be familiar to children, but this book opens up spaces that usually remain hidden, such as action packed jobs, the news room and the great outdoors. The simplicity of the figures combined with the accuracy of major elements are charming and appealing, as they are unambiguous. This makes the images very relatable and memorable. This book will delight parents and children alike. It has a collectible value and would work well as part of a larger series of fun but informative titles.

You may also be interested in these book reviews:

T-Veg: The Tale of a Carrot Crunching Dinosaur

Where’s Warhol?

Film 4 Summer Screen Prints

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

Venue: Somerset House, East Wing Galleries

Opening night 28th July. rsvp@printclublondon.com for entry.

28th-17th of August 2016, 10.00–18.00 and additionally from 18.30–21.00 for Film4 Summer Screen ticket holders (4–17 August 2016).

Free admission.

Web: https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/summer-screen-prints

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Print Club London invites talented artists and illustrators to create alternative, screen-printed posters for the films shown at Film4 Summer Screen. Renowned for curating and dealing screen-printed artworks, as well as its workshops, Print Club London has hand-picked an assortment of artists and styles including Rose Blake, Cassandra Yap, Concepcion Studios and Lucille Clerc, to reflect the veritable variety of films featuring on the big screen.

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Copycat Design – What to do if it happens to you

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Tuesday 19th July, 6.30 – 9.30pm
Venue: Hotel Elephant, 5 Spare Street, Elephant and Castle, London, SE17 3EP

crafty fox talks

This month’s Crafty Fox Talk will cover a tricky and regularly requested topic: IP protection. Illustrator and AOI Member Alice Tams (Birds in Hats) has had her fair share of experience with the subject and will recount her experiences with businesses small and big thus far, sharing the many lessons she has learnt along the way. Lawyer Gavin Llewellyn (Senior Associate with Stone King and ACIDPartner), who represented Alice against Sainsbury’s throughout 2015, will be on hand to explain the legal intricacies of creative IP, when to act and what you can do to try and prevent it happening to you.

Square Tams Comparison shot

The talk is tomorrow and there are still tickets available for £12 (+ booking). More information here.

Make It Grow – book review

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Bring nature to life by lifting the flaps

By Debbie Powell

Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books  ISBN: 978-1-84780-789-2

Review by Andy Robert Davies

Grow_cover

The influence of textile design within Powell’s work is clear to see throughout this book, making it an appealing read for anyone with an interest in surface pattern design. Abstracted depictions of birds, butterflies, fish and various flora, populate each page and lifting the flaps reveals details that provide the reader with lots to see and discuss. Text and image work well, with the reader being encouraged to investigate each page.

Grow_spread1

This book is aimed at three-five year olds so when reading it with my two-year-old son, I thought he may struggle to interpret the stylised forms, but for the most part he had no trouble at all and was quickly pointing out the birds, apples, acorns, fish and the big blue butterfly (which was his favourite bit of the book).

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Powell utilises a varied colour palette to convey the temperature of different environments and my son picked up on this, making the suitable ‘Brrrr!’ sound when looking at the cold mountaintop. This flap-book feels sturdy and should (hopefully) withstand the onslaught of a toddler/young reader and will help them to learn different colours, animals and plants whilst reading on their own or with a friend or adult.

Grow_spread3

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Hoot Owl

The Messy Monster Book

NOT the RA Summer Exhibition

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Until 31 August 2016

Chris Beetles Ltd, 8 & 10 Ryder Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6QB

Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5.30pm

To coincide with the Royal Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition, 27 of Britain’s cartoonists have rallied to provide a satirical take on the history of art. The show is a celebration of history’s masterpieces, and an antidote to the neon, taxidermy and bed linen of contemporary art’s more notorious movements.

COMPOSITION-2-1-C054Rupert Besley

PETER-BLAKE-1-C054

Jonathan Cusick

You Must Bring a Hat – book review

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

By Simon Philip and Kate Hindley

Published by Simon and Schuster  ISBN 978-1-4711-1732-9

Reviewed by Spencer Hill

Hat_cover

At 26cm square this book immediately makes a statement, and the beautiful artwork on the cover tells you that it is story time, and it is going to be an experience.  Publishers Simon and Schuster have placed this book in their ‘ages 2 and up’ category, so the story is quite straight forward. A boy is invited to a party, he can bring as many friends as he likes, but he absolutely must bring a hat. What follows is a crazy and humorous series of events as our main character attempts to meet this condition, and gain entry to the party.

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The format is familiar; a main character must meet a growing list of conditions as they attempts to achieve their goal. By the conclusion of the book the boy is accompanied by a host of characters including a monkey in a hat with a borrowed monocle, Geoff the piano playing badger and a penguin with a suitcase full of cheese. It’s crazy and it is very funny and as we draw to a close there is a huge “Look behind you!” moment as we realise that the boy is trying to get into the wrong house. This, along with the amount of detail in the illustrations, suggests considerable repeat reading potential as the child memorises the list of characters and their lines, and then has the opportunity to shout “You’re at the wrong house!” at the main character and giggle a lot. Well, that’s how it was for me anyway.

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The only glitch in my experience was when the author changes gear half way through the book. We seemed to skip the page where Geoff the badger demonstrates his piano playing, and with an absence of page numbers I found myself flicking back and forth a few times in confusion wondering what I had missed. From the second read this would no longer be an issue, and I wonder if it would only confuse the adult reader rather than the children, who (in my experience) can adapt much faster to this change of pace.

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The story is beautifully and skilfully illustrated by Kate Hindley, whose other published works include Oliver and Patch and How To Wash A Woolly Mammoth. Kate’s loose, colourful and fresh style suits this story perfectly and the characters are captured superbly.  To further enhance the reading experience and provide lots of interest, Kate has packed most of the 32 pages with lots and lots of detail, often squeezing over a dozen characters into her colourful scenes in the foreground and background. I had a lot of fun spotting the extra touches which I suspect came from the imagination of the illustrator. The cover image too is a wonderful montage of characters, which, along with the scale of this book will ensure it has considerable bookshop shelf appeal. Who can resist a book which has a worm with a bow tie on the cover?

This is a clever and funny story which the publishers have matched with the perfect illustrator to create a memorable and giggle-inducing story time experience.

Kate Hindley has published over a dozen books and you can see more of her work here.

You Must Bring a Hat (along with I Don’t Know What to Call My Cat also published by Simon and Schuster) represents Simon Philip’s debut. You can learn more about him here.

You may also be interested in these book reviews:

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POST Design Festival

Monday, July 4th, 2016

POST

POST is a brand new international design festival taking place in Copenhagen from 17-­20 August 2016. Bringing together local and international designers for talks, debates, workshops and social events, it will explore the working life of the visual communicator and the ethics of design.

Curated and delivered by an international group of independent designers and cultural producers, POST will bring together practising designers, illustrators, students and educators from all over Europe for four days of talks and debates, practical workshops and networking events.

Confirmed speakers and workshops leaders include: Studio Atlant (DK), Jacob Birch/Illegal Magazine (DK), Paul Davis (UK), Design Activism Research Hub (UK), David Foldvari (UK/HU), Forbundet Arkitekter og Designere (DK), Hugh Frost/Landfill Editions (UK/SE), Kate Gibb (UK), Louise Hold Sidenius/Officin (DK), Maren Karlson (DE), Eike König/Hort (DE), Bob Linney/Health Images (UK), Rob ‘Supermundane’ Lowe (UK), M&E Art & Design (IE/SE), Kaija Papu (FI), Michael Rytz (DK), Elias Stenalt Werner/KADK (DK), Simon Væth (DK) and Andreas Wellnitz (DE).

POST Design Festival takes place in Space10, Flæsketorvet 10, 1711 Copenhagen V.

Tickets for POST Design Festival are now on sale at postdesignfestival.org

For more updates regarding the festival follow online on twitter, Instagram or facebook.

Payback 2016 launches

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

A record £5.5 million in royalties will be available for visual artists who have had their work published in a book, magazine or shown on TV, through the annual Payback campaign launched by DACS, the visual artists’ rights management organisation.

DACS has successfully run the Payback scheme for over 15 years, distributing over £43.5 million in total. From 4 July until 30 September 2016 visual artists can again apply for their share in collective licensing royalties here. AOI recommends illustrators whose work is in a book, magazine or has been shown on TV apply. It’s an easy process, and there is a minimum payment even for those with little work published.

All types of visual artists whose works are copyright protected are eligible to apply, from fine artists and photographers to designers and illustrators. These royalties are an important income source for visual artists. Last year, 25,000 visual artists and estates claimed Payback and their individual payments – made just in time for Christmas – ranged from £25 to around £3,770.

Children’s book author and illustrator, Benji Davies, said:

“In the past, Payback has enabled me to buy new equipment or contributed to studio costs. When the royalties come through it’s a friendly slap on the back – a similar feeling to receiving a Christmas bonus (I imagine!). It always feels like an unexpected and very welcome reward when the statement pops up in my inbox.”

Payback-artist-and-illustrator-Benji-Davies-in-his-studio.-Photo-©-Brian-Benson,-2016.-Image-courtesy-DACS.

Payback-artist-and-illustrator-Benji-Davies-in-his-studio. Photo-©-Brian-Benson,-2016. Image-courtesy-DACS.

Payback royalties come from the re-use of published artwork, such as the photocopying and scanning of work in books and magazines, or the recording or re-broadcasting of work in TV programmes.

Chernobyl. The Zone – book review

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Written by Francisco Sánchez Illustrated by Natacha Bustos

Published by Centrala ISBN 978-0-9933951-1-6

Review by Marianna Madriz

Chernobyl

“Some say that it was the last major historic event which wasn’t reported live on TV.” With an insightful essay by Álvaro Colomer (first published in 2008) we swiftly enter the world of Chernobyl: a graphic novel in three acts, published on the 40th anniversary of the nuclear catastrophe in Soviet Ukraine.

We are introduced to Pripyat, a city built to allocate workers from the nearby nuclear plant and their families. The city is modern and thriving, reaching a population of nearly 50000 residents. Yuri and his family share together in the mundanities of every day life until the explosion in Chernobyl nuclear power plant; The city is quickly evacuated and family members are suddenly dispersed. Yuri’s grandparents try returning to their homeland and to go back to the way things were, only to find a slow silent death. Years later the protagonist and his younger sister also go back to the ghost city to try finding their relatives, and to somehow make sense of the events that have irrevocably affected them forever.

Chernobyl. The Zone - book review

Francisco Sánchez and Natacha Bustos’s compelling graphic novel is the result of a successful creative collaboration and thorough visual research on this historical event. Bustos’ brush strokes feel quick yet precise, and her dense black and white lines (as well as great character designs) help bring Sánchez’s words to life through the page.

It may not be a light read, but it’s a story that makes you dive in quick once you are past it’s almost silent first act; not to mention, the Appendix features great essays and reflections from Sánchez and Bustos on the narrative’s creative process. It even has a brief documentation on the arranged trip to the abandoned surroundings by Prityat, and on the overall motivation for starting the project.

Chernobyl. The Zone - book review

Part fiction, part documentary, Chernobyl is an important graphic novel that records a forgotten piece of our global history (and most likely an event ignored by the younger generation). It’s slow, sharp and, at times, quite emotional: A recommended read for all.

Chernobyl. The Zone - book review

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