Archive for October, 2015

Mut Mut

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Assembly Point presents Mut Mut – a group exhibition that explores the shift within illustration from the mediated form to the production of individual objects, including work by Darryl Clifton, Rachel Gannon, Anna Lomax, Peter Nencini, Laura Carlin and Nous Vous.

Assembly Point Studios, 47 Staffordshire Street, London SE15 5TJ

Tuesday 10th November (6-9pm) and Wednesday 11th November – Saturday 12th December

Opening times Wednesday to Friday 12 to 6pm and Saturday 12 to 5pm


Pablo Jones-Soler

Mut Mut is a playful compression of the latin phrase mutatis mutandis meaning ‘the necessary changes having been made’. Moving away from the conventional context of contemporary Illustration, and it’s mediation through either print or screen, these illustrators fabricate ‘one off’ bespoke or sculptural pieces. The individual object relies on the audience to come to ‘it’ rather than ‘it’ go to the audience. This is a conscious and deliberate rejection of ephemeral and the reproduced traditionally associated with commercial practice. Instead we see a move towards the concrete, the tangible and the physical.

Assembly Point is a new contemporary arts space, established and run by collaborative artists James Edgar and Sam Walker, encompassing a gallery and studios in Peckham, South London.

Peter Nencini

Peter Nencini

John Burningham’s Champagne

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

An exhibition of original artwork by John Burningham, from his new book CHAMPAGNE.

Chris Beetles Gallery, 8 & 10 Ryder Street, London, SWIY 6QB

Until Saturday 14th November 2015

Opening times Monday to Saturday 10am to 5.30pm 020 7839 7551

John Burningham exhibits over 50 new illustrations that make up his new book Champagne. The majority of his illustrations are created using pen ink, chalks, coloured pencils and inks on a printed base. John’s artworks illustrate the drink, the myths and it’s celebrated drinkers. His book of illustrations are accompanied by quotes, photographs and images spanning over 300 years of the famous drink.


George Butler – WithDraw

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

War Artist Returns Home With Celebrated Exhibition

Oxlease Barn, Filkins, Lechlade, Gloucestershire GL7 3RB

Thursday 10th December – Saturday 12th December 2015 01367 850 216

George Butler returns with an exhibition of works which covers all angles of life in Afghanistan at the historic moment that British and US military withdrew troops after 13 years of solid occupation.

“The three weeks I spent in Afghanistan in November and December 2014 were the start of a continuing diary of violence. These drawings purposefully show life a pace back from that violence: people washing for prayers, shopping, farming, building, learning and living. Much of the rural life reminded me of home and I’m excited to be bringing the drawings back to the Cotswolds’. George Butler.

George’s art works were drawn live in situ in locations throughout Afghanistan. The vivid pen and ink drawings created on the streets of Afghanistan are accompanied by his own descriptions. All reveal the impact of conflict on people, communities and society, as well as the welcoming attitude of the Afghans.

A A Gill comments: “We seem to have lost the art of the observational reporter with a sketchbook to photography, Butler’s memorable images show that a closely observed drawing is not just worth a thousand words but hundreds of photographs”

George believes that reportage illustration is as valid, viable and as powerful as photography and film in recording today’s news. As an artist and illustrator he is free to interpret the elements that inspire him and sees drawing as a way to offer the viewer a different angle.

A percentage of the profits will go to support the charity Afghan Connection who helped George in Afghanistan and support education for girls and boys across the country.

Darul Aman

Darul Aman

João Fazenda – WIA Show & Tell Artist Talk

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Today was the last WIA Show & Tell Artist talk at Somerset House. João Fazenda is a Portuguese illustrator and the WIA 2015 Books Professional Winner. Fazenda talked to us about his processes and inspirations, showing us his sketches from multiple projects he has worked on.
IMG_1465_low Winning WIA Books Professional for the illustrations in the book “Densetsu, Stories from Ancient Japan”, which was translated to portuguese for the first time by M. Takayama and is due to be published by Abysmo. The tales inside the book are all non – fantastical nature – no gods, ghosts or any supernatural creatures are involved. The tales are specifically about ordinary people – traders, samurais, monks – and tell their adventures with humour and the so-called ‘oriental wisdom’.

IMG_1480_low Fazenda was given a very free and open brief to create these illustrations and talked us through how liberating it was at first. However when faced with so many ideas and having found Japanese artwork inspiring for some time, Fazenda ended up with many sketches and ideas that it was overwhelming and difficult to see where the book could end up. Once going through all his many sketches and deciding the path the illustrations would take, Fazenda knew the it needed to be simple and have a limited palette. After experimenting with many colours, Fazenda’s final illustrations are red and black as he found red to be the most neutral colour and the combination to compliment every situation in the book.

IMG_1482_low Mainly working by hand, digitally editing work rarely when needed. Illustration for Fazenda is narrative and in print therefore he directs his illustrations on different printing techniques with a real focus that every line is there for a reason and meaning. Fazenda studied Fine Arts and uses this as well as his graphic design and animation knowledge to create his illustrations.

IMG_1486_low Fazenda told us that a large part of his inspiration for his illustrations are through the comic books he read when he was younger. It was then he saw illustration and loved the idea of visually telling stories. Other inspirations for Fazenda are books, music, visual based films, photography and other artists for example David Hockney.


Visionaries conference – 5/6th November

Monday, October 26th, 2015

5/6 November 2015 at Birmingham City University

Visionaries website

VaroomLab-VisionariesAlternative550Book here

This two day VaroomLab/Birmingham City University symposium in November will be held in Birmingham, with talks presented by practitioners and academics on the illustrated map as a mode of communication, tracing the link between visionary J.G. Ballard and the cultural and virtual fabric of 2015, drawing and the digital networks of the contemporary urban landscape, revisiting the vision of the original Association of Illustrators committee, and imagining an alternative future for arts education. A film on the manifestations of vision in contemporary illustration practice will also be presented.

This event will investigate the way visionary approaches are able to expand the way we perceive the world, and also how influences from the past continue to resonate today. Illustrators, students and academics are all welcome.

Speakers include Matthew Richardson, Gareth Proskourine-Barnett, Richard Miles, Andrew Kulman, Rachel Gannon, Darryl Clifton and Andy Davies.

Petcha Kutcha presentations from Alice Moloney, Christian Lloyd, Jo Berry, Jo Hassel, Chloe Regan, and Aiden Winterburn.

Guest keynote speakers are Graham Elliot and Paul Slater.

Presentations will include the following:

Myths of the near Future: Ballard, Crusoe and Google
Field Notes From The Future
Illustration; Education; Revolution
40 Years On: revisiting the vision of the original Association of Illustrators committee
Visualising Spaces: The Illustrated Map as a mode of communicating Fact, Fiction and Feeling

Plus Petcha Kutcha presentations on a variety of topics:

‘The in-betweener’ – Jo Berry
Performing in a do-It-yourself nudie suit – Christian Lloyd
Off her hostess-trolley: Telling it a different way – Jo Hassal
A new breed: How should we champion the mavericks and pioneers of the illustration industry? – Alice Moloney
Illustrator as Detective: Discovery through Drawing’ – Chloe Regan
Self-Reflexivity and Contemporary Illustrated Children’s Books – Aiden Winterburn

More details on content here

£35 Students  /  £75 Standard Ticket  /  £50 VaroomLab Members (Limited availability)

Illustrators and Authors newsletter

Sunday, October 25th, 2015


AOI member Michael Terry has started a newsletter about children’s book illustrators and authors.

The second edition of the newsletter features interviews with writer Claire Freedman and illustrator Ben Cort about their book Aliens Love Underpants. There’s practical information too on the AOI, DACS and useful illustration book titles.


And you can get a free copy of issue one here. This includes Michael discussing his work and Clare Mackie on starting out as an illustrator.


Benji Davies – WIA Show and Tell Artist Talk

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Children’s Book Professional Winner for AOI’s World Illustration Awards 2015Benji Davies, led the Show and Tell Artist Talk today. Davies talked about his processes and inspirations while creating his book ‘Grandad’s Island‘ which was published by Simon & Schuster.


This is Davies’s second book as an author/illustrator. ‘Grandad’s Island’ is about the relationship between a boy and his granddad, it delicately explores the theme of death by exploring the essence of remembering someone and the things you did together, giving great importance to memories.


Davies talked to those present about his process, showing us his dummy books and thumbnails, everything that was thought about/ changed/ developed leading up to the final edition.


The question of inspirations was raised and Davies explained how his memories of his grandfather was a large influence in creating the story. A trip to Thailand was another large inspiration for Davies, where he found the perfect colours and settings for the Island.


Davies mainly created his work digitally, however he divulged that some brush pen on paper techniques was used to create textures in his illustration. Davies aimed to evoke and celebrate core human emotions and experiences through his illustrations, wanting to bring history and life to his characters.


WIA Winner Alex Foster – Build a Dream Fairground Workshop

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Advertising New Talent Winner, Alex Foster, delivered a family workshop for children aged 6-12 years old last Saturday 10 October in Somerset House, as part of the World Illustration Awards 2015.

The aim of the workshop was for the kids to build rides and attractions which would fill the Dream Fairground map that Foster had designed on the wall. Using all types of arts and crafts from cardboard to balloons, the kids built a fantastic Dream Fairground.

Photography from Somerset House Trust

Photography from Somerset House Trust

Foster says: “With the help of the staff and volunteers at Somerset House we all had an amazing day, the kids and their families really enjoyed it.”

Photography from Somerset House TrustPhotography from Somerset House TrustPhotography from Somerset House Trust

See more in Foster’s blog and find out more about the World Illustration Awards 2015 here

The Big Adventure of a Little Line – book review

Friday, October 16th, 2015

By Serge Bloch

Published by Thames & Hudson ISBN 9780500650585

Review by Derek Brazell

The Big Adventure_cover

Discovering a little red line on the ground one day while out on a walk, a young boy takes it home, coaxes it to life, and after playing around with it for a while, the two gradually become amicably “inseparable”. The line helps him face difficult situations and also assists creating lots of fun. As they grow up together a few complications arise between them (“sometimes the line wouldn’t do what I wanted), but as we all know, life doesn’t become simpler with time.


The line, who has become an integral part of the boy’s life, can be seen as a metaphor for the Spirit, supporting an inner life and facing the various challenges and delights of the outer world. It is also a tribute to drawing, with Bloch’s free form line, sometimes scribbly and always apparently spontaneous, delighting in the space it’s given on the board white pages.


A long list of illustrators and fine artists, from Charles Addams and Semour Chwast to Ralph Steadman and Joan Miro appear at the end of the book. Some of their legacy can be seen in Bloch’s approach, with Jean-Jacques Sempé and Saul Steinberg’s own lines being a touch point. Steinberg even makes a guest appearance as one of the “famous people” our hero and his line meet through life.

Not to give too much away, but “the line”, this spirit, is clearly something to be passed on, a life-force, perhaps, giving another character the chance for a fulfilling life (and a Big Adventure).


Little kids, while loving Bloch’s expressive characterisation and lively drawing, may not consciously see the inner self which the line represents, but older readers will recognise with equal delight the line that “wasn’t always easy to live with”.

The Big Adventure of a Little Line ends on the image of the red line emanating from a blue dip pen: the spirit of illustration and life combined. A truly superb book.

Our reviewer asked Serge Bloch a few question on The Big Adventure of a Little Line:

Your drawing appears very spontaneous. Do you do many preparatory drawings?

It took me a long time to find the best way of expressing myself. Bit by bit, I eliminated the laborious elements of my method. I have a style now where I don’t need to do many preparatory drawings; I just draw with the aim of staying as close as possible to the idea I have in mind. This free-flowing style of expression allows me to tell all kinds of different stories and to cross any number of boundaries.

I read ‘the line’ as a representation of the human spirit. How did you connect this inner life line with the line of the artist?

The line as human spirit is an ancient metaphor. In Greek and Roman mythology, humans had a lifeline in the palm of their hands that the Fates untangled. Ten years ago, I published a book with the theme of the lifeline called Moi, J’attends, or I Can’t Wait in English, and it was very successful.

I revisited this theme with The Big Adventure of A Little Line. I wanted to show how central drawing is to my life, to show the pleasure that a single line gives me. I have made my living by drawing, but it’s also an everyday happiness.

It’s great to see a visual book referencing, and dedicated to, amazing illustrators and artists. How have all these creators impacted on your own artwork and thinking?

The dedicatees of this book are my masters. I owe them everything I know. They wrote the history of drawing, and I can only hope to have a small impact.

You may also be interested in these book reviews:

The Promise

Understanding Illustration

Serge’s book video

1.21 GIGAWATTS exhibition

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

1.21 GIGAWATTS is a celebration of 1985 smash movie, Back To The Future! Featuring work from 32 internationally renowned illustrators.

21 – 28 October at The Print Space Gallery, 74 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DL

The classic tale of young Marty McFly and Doc Brown as they haphazardly travel through the space-time continuum, inspired a generation of sci-fi and time travel fanatics around the world, and still stands up as a defining piece of cinema from the 80s.

October 21st 2015 is the date that Marty and the Doc arrive at when they travel to the future. The show celebrates this historic date.

The exhibition will display all the illustrated work, along with additional physical pieces designed by the artists. Ranging from original paintings, screen prints, t-shirts and sculptures.