Archive for September, 2015

Illustration Research: Illustrator as Public Intellectual

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

6/7 November 2015 at RISD Illustration, USA


Illustrators and all who study their work have long understood the importance of pictures to communicate ideas and shape opinion, and to possibly provoke the viewer in unpredictable ways. What should illustrators say in the public sphere? What forces limit the illustrator’s expression of thought? What are the key issues and debates around the communication of ideas through illustration?

Organized and hosted by the Illustration Research Network and RISD Illustration, the 6th annual International Illustration Research Symposium will consist of papers, panels, round tables, and visual presentations on the theme of the illustrator as not only conveyor of established intellectual thought in the public sphere, but also as a vital, potent voice in public discourse and the author of content through independent provocation, seduction and persuasion. Schedule here.

The Illustrator as Public Intellectual questions the common misconceptions that the illustrator’s mind and hand are wholly guided by editors, art directors, and clients; and that their work is subordinate to the texts they illustrate. This symposium proposes that illustrators are empowered as originators and purveyors of unique thought.

The White Book – book review

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

By Silvia Borando, Elisabetta Pica, Lorenzo Clerici

Published by Walker Books ISBN: 9781406363173

Review by Laura Flynn


When I first picked up The White Book I dismissed it as not the sort of book I was going to enjoy, or more importantly that my two and half year old daughter would enjoy.

However it is becoming a firm favourite of both of ours.

The book begins with a drawing of a little boy with a paint roller in his hand, my daughter Grace named him ‘Oscar’… after her best friend. He begins to paint the page in pink with the roller, and then over the next four pages six white birds appear on the coloured wall, then fly onto the white page before disappearing. The boy then paints a blue page with white fish who then does the same, but dives off the page again, leaving a sad faced ‘Oscar’.


The boy carries on using various colours on the wall that produce different animals that proceed to scare him, squash him, pick him up and try to eat his roller. Then he paints the last pages in orange before a dog jumps onto the White page next to him, but this time he doesn’t go away, he stays and plays with his new found friend, and the boy is very, very happy.


This book is a really good way to create conversation between the child and reader, and each person sees a different version of the story. Some people who have also read the book to Grace struggled with the fact there are no words to make it easy for them, but she soon gets them involved and explains the story, through her own eyes… the dog’s called ‘Jacob’ by the way, another one of her best friends!

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Black Cat, White Cat


The Art of Acquisition: The Great Bardfield Artists’ Houses

Sunday, September 27th, 2015
Until 25 October 2015
The Fry Art Gallery, Castle Street, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 1BD Opening times
Chloe Cheese,_My House, lithograph

Chloe Cheese (AOI Patron), My House, lithograph

This exhibition aims to capture the spirit of the Great Bardfield artists’ houses, from the eye to the home. Wallpaper designs, rag rugs, needlework cushions, fabrics, watercolours and ceramics, as well as found treasures, creating an approach to the domestic interior which has informed generations ever since. The show includes works by AOI Patron, Chloe Cheese, who is well know for her printmaking as well as illustration.

Chloe Cheese,_My Mothers House, lithograph

Chloe Cheese, My Mothers House, lithograph

Other artists include Richard Bawden, Walter Hoyle, Sheila Robinson and Marianne Straub.   AOI’s Derek Brazell says: These two exhibitions in the small Fry Gallery are packed full of great works, and make the visit to Saffron Walden well worth the visit. There are powerful prints and delicate watercolours in the From Eric Ravilious to Grayson Perry show, and wallpapers, furniture, prints and objects in The Art of Acquisition. These Great Bardfield artists held ‘open house’ events, and this gives visitors a taste of what that may have been like.


From Eric Ravilious to Grayson Perry

Until 25 October 2015

Edward Bawden, Lindsell Church, Essex, 1959

Edward Bawden, Lindsell Church, Essex, 1959

In 2015 the Gallery marks the thirtieth anniversary of the opening display of the North-West Essex Collection in the Fry Art Gallery. The Collection now numbers well over 2000 items, including paintings, prints, ceramics, books, designs and many other objects produced by the diverse artists who have lived in and around the Essex village of Great Bardfield since the early 1930s.

Until the end of October 2015 the main gallery displays works by the ‘Bardfield Artists’ in broadly chronological order, from the arrival of Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious around 1930, through wartime, the resettlement after the war, the growth in the community of artists, and the emergence in the 1950s of Great Bardfield as a significant centre for British art and design.


Eric Ravillious, 'Attic Bedroom, Brick House’ (c. 1932–34) Fry Gallery

Ivan Chermayeff: Cut and Paste

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Peninsula Arts, Plymouth University, Roland Levinsky Building, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 8AA

Until 14 November 2015

Opening times Monday to Sunday 11am to 4pm

01752 585050

Cut and Paste exhibits graphic designer Ivan Chermayeff’s work. This touring exhibition involves commercial work for clients dating back to the 1950’s and collages produced as recently as 2013 – all part of a vibrant visual journey. Working initially with Robert Brownjohn, the famous creator of the film titles like From Russia with Love, Chermayeff then formed a partnership with Tom Geismar, working on a wide range of projects including book jackets, signage, museums and exhibitions. This will be the first display of Chermayeff’s work in Britain.Ivan Chermayeff, J.J. Sweeney with Diebenkorn and Tony Smith, 2011, Collage

Ivan Chermayeff, J.J. Sweeney with Diebenkorn and Tony Smith, 2011, Collage

David McKee Celebrates 35 Years of ‘Not Now, Bernard’

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

The Illustration Cupboard, 22 Bury Street, London, SW1Y 6AL

Until Saturday 3 October 2015

Opening times Monday to Friday 9:30am to 6pm, Saturday 11am to 5pm.

0207 976 1727

Not Now, Bernard is widely regarded as one of David McKee’s more iconic picture books, appealing to both adults and children alike. David Mckee’s original, published illustrations will be on show (but not for sale), alongside one piece of original artwork for sale: the German front Cover artwork of Not Now, Bernard.


A variety of McKee’s artwork from many of his best-selling books published throughout his long and esteemed career will be on show throughout the week and will include art from original Mr Benn books and animated films, Elmer and King Rollo and more!


Payback 2015

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Payback 2015 is coming to an end! Until the 30th September visual artists can apply for their share of royalties.

The Payback 2015 campaign, which is run by DACS, supports artists to make a living from their practice and develop their work. The royalties come from the re-use of published artwork, such as photocopying and scanning of work in books and magazines, or the recording or re-broadcasting of work in TV programmes.

AOI member and British Bake-Off Illustrator, Tom Hovey, discusses why he signed up to Payback and why he believes it will benefit other illustrators! Go here

Photograph: Tom Hovey in his studio © Tom Hovey

Photograph: Tom Hovey in his studio © Tom Hovey

For more information on DACS and the Payback 2015 campaign, go here

Friends – book review

Monday, September 21st, 2015

By Jan Soken

Translation: Nikki Martin Published by Centrala ISBN: 978 0 9929082 8 7

Review by Derek Brazell


Anything can bring people together (even, disturbingly for most of us, membership of the Ku Klux Klan), and those friendship connections can be complex things, full of affections, frustrations and one-upmanship.

Jan Soken’s graphic novel explores the none to smooth dynamics between two friends – policemen – who have joined the Ku Klux Klan and, following email instructions, are walking to their initiation ceremony which is to be held somewhere in the forest they are trekking. Soken’s premise is based on a true story of two German law officers Klan members, but bizarre as it is, he uses it to look at the relationship between these two men as they bicker about whether they should keep their Klan robes on in the heat as they walk through the woods or help the dog they find in a pen, moving the initially slapstick story into something more tense.


The humourous dialogue will feel familiar to anyone who’s had an argument with a friend, and it contrasts well with the story’s increasingly serious tone as concern over of the dog’s fate prompts some unforeseen consequences.


The simple artwork brings a variety of viewpoints to the action, with the graphite pencil work contributing to the feeling of the book being constructed from the author’s sketchbook. Rain falling in one scene adds movement and the sense of (possibly) impending fate. Soken has achieved a successful combination of subtle storytelling with effective artwork, mocking his protagonists, but making the reader feel a growing concern (for one of them, at least).


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Dear Rikard


Bibliothèque Quentin Blake Opening

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Institut Français Du Royaume Uni, 17 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DT

Bibliothèque Quentin Blake, 32 Harrington Road, London, SW7 3ES

Grand Opening – Saturday 12 September

Activity Days – Tuesday 15 September – Friday 18 September 2015

Times: Grand Opening 2pm till 6pm, Activity days 4pm

Free submission, however reservation mandatory for Activity Days: [email protected]

0207 871 3515

Institut français du Royaume-Uni, Bibliothèque Quentin Blake Grand Opening

Institut français du Royaume-Uni, Bibliothèque Quentin Blake Grand Opening

After major refurbishment, the Children’s Library of the Institut Français reopens under the name Bibliothèque Quentin Blake. To celebrate there will be a screening of Eleanor’s Secret, short tours and creative sessions throughout the afternoon, giving you plenty of time to look around and see the new mural by Blake.

The following week will be activities for kids from 4pm including treasure hunts, digital drawing sessions, e-tales and board game frenzy!

Institut français du Royaume-Uni, Bibliothèque Quentin Blake Activity Days

Institut français du Royaume-Uni, Bibliothèque Quentin Blake Activity Days

Political Cartoon Exhibition

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

The 3rd Annual Political Cartoon Exhibition 10 – 19 September 2015

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

9.30am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday, 11.00am to 5.00pm Saturdays

Chris Riddell, A Fragile Recovery. Published in The Observer

Chris Riddell, A Fragile Recovery. Published in The Observer

Contemporary political satire by leading names from the world of newspaper cartoons highlighting new-comer Christian Adams from The Daily Telegraph, Paul Thomas (Daily Express) Stephen Lee (The Guardian & The Week), Jeremy Banks (BANX from The Financial Times) as well as the new Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell (The Guardian & The Observer).

Also, a selection of traditional cartoons  with original work by E.H. Shepard, Scully, Albert Edgar Beard and ‘Plum’

School of Art – Book Review

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Written by Teal Triggs, Illustrated by Daniel Frost

Published by Wide Eyed ISBN: 9781847806116

Review by Priya Bual

front-coverNow kids can gain a degree from The School of Art! This activity book takes kids through lessons which students would learn from art school, starting from ‘Lesson One: How does a line begin?’ all the way to ‘Lesson 40: What do we mean by ‘aesthetics?’

The School of Art is set out as if you are taking on an academic year, with three terms and a final exhibition at the end. The reader acts as the student and learns lessons from the five professors – ‘Professor of Ideas’ who personifies your imagination (her studio is literally in the clouds!); ‘Professor of Form’ who personifies structure and what the Bauhaus movement has done for art (he looks like Johannes Itten with a beard); ‘Professor of Senses’ helps create experiences and meanings with art; ‘Professor of Making’ introduces kids to different materials and how to make things into virtual or structural objects and lastly ‘Professor of the Planet’ who is the newest professor (as thinking about the environment is an issue which is increasingly spreading to art), he helps create eco friendly meanings in art.

image3In a very creative and imaginative storyline, the ‘professors’ help each other and the reader to learn everything you would learn in art school. Each lesson follows on from the other and there is a running composition of the storyline; an activity cloud with instructions for the ‘student’ to fulfil as well as larger, bold writing which summaries or explains more about the lessons.

Some words and sentences within the book are challenging for younger readers. There is a glossary at the back, however terms in there can be too advanced for younger children, for example ‘Cross Hatch Marks – (also: crosshatching) – a kind of shading made from intersecting parallel lines’. Therefore this main audience would be ideal for older kids, roughly in Year 7 to 9, who can independently find out meanings and learn for themselves. As a result The School of Art becomes a very interactive read for kids, with activities including researching artists such as Andy Warhol and Bridget Riley, painting, collaging and creating your own mini comic.

image-2The illustrations, by the up and coming Daniel Frost, aid the reader’s imagination by simplifying terms learnt in the lessons. The fun and bubbly illustrations exemplify characteristics in the professors, and the bold block colours help the composition become balanced and still feel light and fun to read. Throughout the book there is a mixture of double page colour spreads and white backgrounds with smaller colour illustrations, Frost composed each page to compliment the writing and the structure of the book without the reading becoming too light or too heavy, keeping it engaging to the reader. Frost follows the rules that are taught within The School of Art, having proportioned figures, harmonious colours and rhythm with each illustration, this subtly helps the reader understand the lessons better.

As an art student myself I found The School of Art a funny and entertaining read. I caught myself analysing my own work to see if I use all the right structures and techniques that, as you get older and become more experienced, come naturally. It was fascinating and entertaining the way The School of Art incorporated famous movements such as Bauhaus by mentioning it as another art school in Germany or famous artist such as Leonardo Da Vinci to teach ‘Lesson 22: How do we draw realistic human proportions?’

image1The Art School doesn’t just teach kids about how to draw but how to use art in life, such as solving problems by visualising them, also keeping in mind the environmental issues, channelling art towards thinking about recycling and water usage. Frost succeeded in creating light and engaging illustrations with bold colours and characteristics to keep the story flowing.

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