Archive for December, 2013

AOI Holiday times

Friday, December 20th, 2013


Merry Christmas from The AOI!

We will be closed for the Christmas Break from 5pm Friday 20th December 2013 and will reopen at 10am on Thursday 2nd January 2014

We are also continually working to improve our website and as part of this ongoing effort, we will be undergoing scheduled maintenance and upgrades between 25th December 2013 and 3rd January 2014 (during this time, if there are any urgent technical problems please contact [email protected]).

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Illustration by Flora Cox

Paper Engineering for Designers – book review

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Paper Engineering for Designers – Pop up skills and techniques

By Keith Finch

Thames & Hudson ISBN 9780500517031

Review by Tom Jay


The author Keith Finch is a paper engineer who has made just about everything there is, spring from the pages from a book.  Amongst his previous work is The World of Ice Age (2009) an exciting 3D look into the world of the Ice Age movie franchise. The aim of Paper Engineering for Designers is to provide the reader with the basic knowledge of paper engineering. This mysterious art has been bringing books to life for a long time, and had recently had renewed interest with the paper cut aesthetic becoming a strong medium in the illustration world.

Finch’s previous job as an aeronautical engineer has clearly given him a love for the precise science that is required to produce complex pop-ups. Luckily for me this book starts at the very beginning with the most simple of pop ups, the ‘V-fold’, a flat panel that stands up once the page is opened. From this humble beginning you are taken on a logical journey to pull-tabs, pivots and wheels. The book has well written and very clear step by step instructions. It also contains pre cut and marked parts on detachable card that makes things a lot easier for a novice like me.


The card provided is of course blank, but it’s very easy to start thinking how imagery can be incorporated. If you’re a paper cut artist looking for some interactive inspiration or a designer looking for a way to make the 2D come to life then this book is an excellent place to start leaning the basics of paper engineering.


Pictoplasma – Call for Entries

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

“Character Selfies” – The Pictoplasma Portrait Project

Pictoplasma, the conference and festival of contemporary character design in illustration, animation, graphic, and urban arts, is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary. The conference (30th April to 4th May,2014) is being hosted at  Babylon am Rosa Luxemburg Platz and over 20 art spaces.

The theme is Character Portraits.

El Grand Chamaco_blog

In reference to this, Pictoplasma invites all international designers, illustrators and artists to submit a “Selfie” of their character for their upcoming anniversary exhibition. In the context of 10th Pictoplasma Berlin Festival, the exhibition is taking place from April 30 until May 12, 2014.

Pictoplasma describes the ‘Character Selfies’ as images that portray a snapshot of a character, as though it had taken a self-portrait of itself, using a hand-held digital camera or camera phone, preferably via mirror.


The submissions can be photographs, illustrations, paintings or any sort of graphical work as long as it fulfils the criteria of ‘Character Selfies’.

For more details about the project and submission guidelines, visit:

The Astrid Lindgren Award 2014

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

This award, designed to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature, amounts to SEK 5 million. Authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters are eligible for the award, which is given annually to a laureate selected from candidates nominated by institutions and organisations all over the world.


Illustrated by 2013 laureate, Isol

Mr. Larry Lempert, chairman of the jury, recently announced this year’s list of nominated candidates for the award 2014 at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The nominees include AOI patrons Quentin Blake and Shirley Hughes and AOI member, Harriet Russell.

Journal of Illustration

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Volume 1 Issue 1

ISSN: 20520204

Published by Intellect


Produced by the Illustration Research group, the newly published Journal of Illustration is now available from Intellect Books.

Editor, Desdemonna McCannon, says “The journal exists to encourage new critical writing on illustration, associated visual communication and the role of the illustrator as visualizer and facilitator in a wide variety of disciplines and professional contexts.”


Featuring articles on  Searching for a common identity; The Folklore interpreted though illustration and Sisssors, paper, poetry: The interaction between Chinese folk art and contemporary art practice the group’s intention is that “…the journal will create a space within which many differing and sometimes contradictory ideas can coexist, to promote diversity of thought and experimental means of discourse.”

This first issue is available for free online.


The Ghost of Christmas 1977

Friday, December 13th, 2013

1977 Nov-Dec Cover by George Hardie

On our journey through more past publications of the AOI newsletter, we stumbled upon a Christmas Special of Illustrators from 1977.

John Grawsham_1

John Grashaw in the NY Times

Nigel Holmes Writes From NewYork:

“It’s great to be in a city which takes illustration seriously and uses a lot of it.”

Illustrations by Colin Mier

Illustrations by Colin Mier

This edition also included an “Illustrator’s Christmas Board Game” including drawings by Colin Mier, Mickey Finn, Dave F. Smith and Alastair Graham

Christmas Illustrations

Christmas Illustrations

And feautures Christmas illustrations by Paul Davies, Sue Porter, Terence Dalley, Raymond Briggs, Lynda Gray and Mick Brownfield.

Archi-Doodle: An Architect’s Activity Book – review

Friday, December 6th, 2013

by Steve Bowkett

Published by Laurence King ISBN 978 178067 321 9

Review by Shalini Agrawal

Cover 1

All art and design students are encouraged to always keep a sketchbook handy. And Archi-Doodle seems to be just that – a sketchbook for architectures filled with activities to exercise one’s imagination. The readers can choose to be as accurate or as innovative as possible with their designs.


Inspiring activities like completing part of the Eiffel Tower or the Sydney Opera House, to designing a ‘zero gravity community for the surface of Titan’, make this book an exercise in resourcefulness.

Sydney Opera House

The author considers every aspect of designing a building including acivities for designing door knobs to windows chimneys to doorways. By setting certain parameters to these tasks, the users are suitably challenged. Young aspiring architects and students will probably enjoy this book the most, although certainly, as the sticker on the cover of the book suggests, it is for architects of all ages.

100 Illustrators – book review

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

by Steven Heller and Julius Wiedemann

Hardcover, 2 vols. in slipcase, 640 pages Published by Taschen

Review by Derek Brazell


100 illustrators is a selection of work from illustrators who had previously been featured in Taschen’s Illustration Now! series of books, with the aim being to feature those who have played a significant part in illustration history.

A pre-selection from editor Julius Wiedemann was sent to Steven Heller, who whittled it down to veterans such as Brad Holland, Barbara Nessim and Marshall Arisman alongside younger artists, whilst acknowledging that those who have been illustrating for around twenty years , the ‘middle aged’, should be included and recognised for maintaining a ‘productive career’.


The featured artists receive a very brief overview (in English, Czech and Polish, including quotes from various sources) along with lists of selected exhibitions and publications they have been featured in and up to three spreads of their artwork. Most the work is recent, or from the 2000’s and runs the range from Catalina Estrada’s sumptuous decorative patterned work (below), through the simple, sometimes erotic shapes of Olympia Zagnoli to AOI member, Tony Healy’s distinctive character portraits. Amongst the lifestyle and conceptual imagery some political work is shown adding a welcome bite to the proceedings.


Another AOI member, Simon Spilsbury, is included in the second of these two substantial books (which add up to quite a weight!), and his lively approach contrasts with much of the slick artwork surrounding him.

As often with illustration showcase publications, I’m left wishing I knew more of the context behind the artwork, although the captions do detail the client and materials used. A nice point is the inclusion of illustrators’ self portraits which open their sections, and these reveal a little of the character behind the artists. 100 Illustrators functions as an effective overview of the last few years with a hefty dose of quality artwork over the two volumes.


Chronicles exhibition

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Vibe Gallery & Bar

N001 The Biscuit Factory, Tower Bridge Business Complex, 100 Clements Rd, London, SE16 4DG

12 December only – private view, all welcome

Matt Booker

Matt Booker

Topolski Studio and Reportager, University of the West of England, present the work of Matt Booker, Laura Fitton, Josh Morris, Alex Nicholson, Chloë Parke and Louis Vinet, the Residents of the Chronicle Residency Programme, at Vibe Gallery.

This Autumn six young unemployed artists have been reporting local issues and events through drawing and they have produced a hand-printed Chronicle, a broadsheet of reportage drawing chronicling contemporary issues of the twenty-first century just as artist Feliks Topolski did of the twentieth.

Feliks Topolski (1907-1989) was the first artist on the South Bank, having set up studios here in 1953 from where he hand-printed over 2,300 of his on the spot drawings as his broadsheet Chronicles. Covering events from the Queen’s Coronation to London street scenes, the Chronicles bristle with comment and observation about the people, politics and events of the time.

Sixty years since Topolski launched his Chronicles, Topolski Studio’s Chronicle for the twenty-first century and accompanying documentary drawings of London will be exhibited alongside Feliks Topolski’s original Chronicles and drawings, contrasting what Topolski recorded 50 and 60 years ago with what the young artists’ record today.

Ongoing ERR Bill Copyright issues

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

AOI will be attending Intellectual Property Office meetings for the pricing and licensing for still visual art group in mid December. This is made up of experts who work in the field of pricing and licensing for still visual art.

The group will be asked to look at building on current licensing and pricing best practice to assist in the creation of guidance for users of the upcoming orphan works licensing scheme, part of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (ERR) Act 2013. As members will know, the AOI has recently completed a survey of pricing which is available to members in the Members Area of the website, and also advise members extensively on licensing.

AOI will also be part of the meeting on diligent searches (the process by which a creative work will be defined as an orphan work – when the creator/rights holder cannot be identified or if known, not traceable).