Archive for April, 2016

V&A Illustration Awards 2016 Shortlist

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

The V&A Illustration Awards judges have selected 5 works in the Student category and 3 works in each of the published categories.

Book Illustration

Coralie Bickford-Smith for The Fox and the Star (Particular Books)

Jason Brooks for London Sketchbook (Laurence King)

Tim Laing for The Radetzky March (Folio Society)

Book Cover Illustration

David McConochie for The Folio Book of Ghost Stories (Folio Society)

Marina Esmeraldo for Game of Chance (Arbuthnot Books)

Simon Pemberton for Shackleton’s Journey (Folio Society)

Editorial Illustration

Bill Bragg for ‘But today I am afraid’, published in The Guardian

Claudia Biele for ‘Small creatures such as we are’, published in 10 magazine

Tom Clohosy-Cole for ‘Go set a watchman’, published in The Guardian

Student Awards

Han Bit (Kingston University) for London vs Jeju

Jessamy Hawke (Kingston University) for The Clearing

Joan Alturo (Arts University Bournemouth) for Morts et Vita

Kate Milner (Anglia Ruskin University: Cambridge School of Art) for My name is not ‘refugee’

Katyuli Lloyd (Anglia Ruskin University: Cambridge School of Art) for Illustrations for the novel ‘Flush’ by Virginia Woolf

2016 Judges Student Category: Rafaela Romaya, Art Director at Canongate Books; Ruth Prickett, Editor at Illustration Magazine.

Published Categories: Annabel Judd, V&A Head of Design; Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Author, former Children’s Laureate, National Treasure; Patrick Burgoyne, Editor at Creative Review.

The prize The winner in each category receives £3,000 and a trophy. The judges will also select an Overall Winner to receive an additional £5,000 and the ‘Moira Gemmill Illustrator of the Year’ prize. The prize is named in memory of the late Moira Gemmill, the V&A’s former Director of Design, to reflect her significant contribution to, and tireless support of, the awards.

The awards The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the V&A on 23 May 2016 and the winning works will be on display at the V&A from 24 May until 21 August 2016.

Do You Miss Your Country? – book review

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

By Monika Szydłowska

Published by Centrala  ISBN 978-0-9933951-0-9

Review by Derek Brazell


It’s in today’s headlines, but has always been with us; the movement of people from their country of origin to one either nearby or in another part of the world. Different cultural and linguistic backgrounds can present challenges for newer and existing residents of a country, and Do You Miss Your Country? arrives in a timely fashion, adding some insight and humour to the predicaments which arise for Polish immigrants to the UK.


The chunky square book is made up of one water-coloured cartoon illustration per page, with speech bubbles in either English or Polish (with handy translations at the side), and depict faceless characters interacting, or mis-communicating with each other over a host of topics. The lack of facial features  interestingly allows for a wide identification with all those depicted. The reader can see themselves as a Pole dealing with British idiosyncrasies or as a Brit putting their foot in it in response to a misunderstood comment from a Pole (or as an older British woman says, “I don’t know what you’re saying, so I’ll just say yes”). Exchanges between Poles give an amusing view on the complexities of living in a country where life is not as you are accustomed to, and other comments can be quite touching (“Sorry, I’m from Poland, I’m not used to people saying nice things”).


Monika Szydłowska’s light touch images and text convey character without being too specific, and interspersed throughout the book is a brown haired character who may be Szydłowska herself – Skyping with her mum from the UK, talking with friends in bar. The book is based on the blog Na emigracji which she has been running for several years, documenting the specific experiences of living in a new country, which nevertheless become universal experiences of communication (and its flipside). It’s fun and illuminating.


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Man meets Woman

The Big Adventure of a Little Line

Illustrators Magazine 1981 Issue 39

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Another interesting article extracted from Illustrators Magazine, the 1981 Issue no. 39. – Special Drawing Issue.

Spreads 26+27_Miida_Outline_550

Sara Midda’s sketchbooks record plans and memories, filled with delicate  illustrations, reportage drawings, thought processes and written observations. Sketchbooks are “to record places and memories…jot down thoughts and ideas as they come along, which may or may not be elaborated on”, Midda explains. Qualities within her sketchbooks – watercolours, notes, hand drawn typography, can be seen books In and Out of the Garden, 1981 (below), and South of France, 1990.

Midda’s honest and curious use of her sketchbooks sums up the importance of sketching as a catalyst,  “the theme explores drawing as an activity fundamental to illustration”, writes editor Wendy Coates-Smith, reasserting this importance.


Seven Kinds of Magic

Monday, April 25th, 2016

29 April to 24 August 2016, 10:00am – 6:00pm (Gallery closed on Mondays)

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

Admission: £7/£5/£4.

House of Illustration presents Seven Kinds of Magic: the inaugural exhibition of the permanent Quentin Blake gallery.

© Quentin Blake

© Quentin Blake

AOI Patron Quentin Blake is one of the world’s foremost Illustrators, hugely cherished by readers of all ages for his unique body of work.

Curated by Blake himself, Seven Kinds of Magic will explore the magical and surreal elements present in his illustrations, specifically showing original pieces from seven books including The Witches, Magical Tales and My Friend Mr Leakey.

The Quentin Blake gallery is a new space within House of Illustration that aims to deliver a continuous series of exhibitions highlighting different aspects of Blake’s work within his extensive archive of original, rough and preparatory drawings.

From 'Quentin Blake's Magical Tales' by John Yeoman (Pavilion Books, 2010)

From 'Quentin Blake's Magical Tales' by John Yeoman (Pavilion Books, 2010)

Seven Kinds of Magic will open to the public this Friday 29 February.

Illustrators Magazine – 1981 Issue 39

Monday, April 25th, 2016

We have recovered an interesting article, from another issue of Illustrators Magazine, the 1981 Issue no. 39. – Special Drawing Issue.

Spreads 18+19_Gowdy_Outline_550

This spread delves into the work of AOI Patron Carolyn Gowdy, renowned for her narrative images with text inscriptions which are populated by a cast of idiosyncratic characters. Gowdy explains her creative process, chance findings, and tales of discovery, like the inside of an old book cover found in a corner of the V&A museum on the floor, leading to unexpected inspiration. As well as commercial work – a poster for the Folio Society and a drawing for Ambit magazine on the theme of uncomfortable chairs.

Front Cover39_550px

Pick Me Up: Graphic Arts Festival 2016

Friday, April 22nd, 2016


Somerset House is once again host to Pick Me Up, London’s annual Graphic Arts Festival. Now in its seventh year running, the festival is showcasing emerging and established illustrators, graphic designers and animators, as well as an array of studios and collectives. Forming part of UTOPIA 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility, this year’s festival focuses on the theme of community within the graphic arts.


Pick Me Up will be running across ten days, offering a variety of exhibitions, talks, demonstrations, workshops and screenings. In addition to Pick Me Up Selects, a curated showcase of work from up and coming graphic artists and illustrators, this year’s festival will also be host to A Life in Letterpress, a retrospective exhibition of work by renowned typographer, printmaker and AOI member Alan Kitching. Alan will also be in attendance on certain days, demonstrating his letterpress machine in action. He’s in the photograph below, in red.


Guests include Hato Press, Beach London, We Are Facility, and newcomers Clay Collective and Peso Press amongst others.


Pick Me Up runs until 2 May 2016, 10:00am – 6:00pm (last entry 5:15pm)
Late Night Wednesdays and Thursdays until 9:00pm (last entry 8:15pm)
Day Tickets £10, concessions £8
Festival Pass £17.50

Embankment Galleries, South Wing, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA

You can find out more information, download the schedule and book tickets via the Pick Me Up website

Reflections 25.4.16 – exhibition

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

An Innovative Cross Media Art and Storytelling project

The Atrium Gallery, University of the West of England, Bower Ashton Campus, Kennel Lodge Road, Bristol BS3 2JT

25th April 2016 and then every day (not including weekends or bank holidays – 2nd May) until 4.00pm Friday 6th May

9.00am – 7.00pm (Fridays 5.00pm)

Exhibition in Nepal and Bristol

A parallel exhibition of cross media work including artwork, photography and audio testimony and interviews with survivors and relief personnel will be in Nepal and Bristol, UK at The Atrium Gallery, University of the West of England, Bower Ashton Campus from 25th April 2016.


More on those involved below

reflections artists_550

Illustrator’s Magazine – Summer 1982 Archive

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

We have recovered an interesting article from another issue of Illustrators Magazine from the 1980’s Issue no. 41.

Yr 82 Iss 41 Front Cover_550

The intention of this article from issue 41, titled Singular Lives, is for it to be a regular feature to profile well known illustrators. Here Sarah Culshaw interviews Paul Hogarth, the newly appointed Honorary President of the Association of Illustrators (in 1982), covering a range of topics, and advice for the young illustrator ­– urging them “never to give up observing what’s going on”.

The article also explores Hogarth’s background, views on illustration – his work in topography, illustration and reportage all pointing towards the distinction between fine art and illustration becoming increasingly blurred– a prediction that is turning out to be true – and challenging the unjustifiably snobbish attitude towards illustrators from the fine art world.

Yr 82 Iss 41 Pg 26+27_550

Colouring in books – Dominika Lipniewska interview

Friday, April 8th, 2016


The 100 Colouring Book, by Dominika Lipniewska, seems to sit in between – half colouring book, half activity book. With 100 drawings on each double page spread, the illustrations are more of a tesselation, than a pattern. The aim is to colour and add detail; it could be stripes on a persons t-shirt, veins onto plant leaves, windows onto buildings or scales onto fish.

This piece is a follow on from article Adult Colouring Books – Evolution of an unexpected phenomenon

Vicky Stylianides talks with Dominika Lipniewska.

Your work is very graphic and colourful, was it strange to see you illustrations in black and white as finished pieces?

Not at all! Most of my work starts as black drawings and is then coloured or screen printed. I guess the biggest challenge for me was to leave is slightly unfinished without adding lines extra lines or patterns. I wanted to make sure that my drawings are just a starting point for my readers.


Do you use the same approach to image making for a colouring book as you would do with freelance/commissions?

I do. Like with all my work I start with pen and paper and if needed, correct it, put together or add colour digitally. For me it’s the most enjoyable way of working and gives me the time to work away from the screen. I drew my colouring book by hand and quite spontaneously, page at the time with only small changes but a lot of counting to 100.


On your website you say you enjoy getting involved in interesting projects and collaborating with people. In a sense, the colouring book is one big collaboration, how do you respond to seeing your illustrations coloured in by the public?

It is always a great pleasure and surprise to see the pages of my book in colour. My readers, regardless of their age are very creative and I’m not sure I would do a better job myself. It’s amazing how many different approaches people take to colour and decorate my characters and objects. I had some amazing artwork being sent to me from all over the world and it’s such an honour to see that someone took all this time to make those pages complete.


The 100 colouring book encourages interaction, with suggestions and things to look out for. Did you want to create something with more creative freedom, and do you think the colouring book phenomenon is evolving?

Absolutely! I wanted my drawings to be the starting point to encourage colouring, decorating and adding. It’s not one for staying inside the lines. The colouring book phenomenon is very surprising to me and I hope it will encourage people to get even more creative. I’m currently working on an activity book with much more doodling and creative freedom for a reader but still with some directions. So don’t put those pencils away just yet!

Back description

You may also be interested in Adult Colouring Books – Evolution of an unexpected phenomenon

Illustrators Magazine – Spring 1982 Archive

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

We have recovered an interesting article from another issue of Illustrators Magazine from the 1980’s Issue no. 40.

Front Cover_550

This article introduces the voices of illustrators, agents and art editors, sitting in a pub, discussing the role of the AOI, rising/falling standards within the profession and the illustrators role – subservant to the demands of the industry or an active creator/initiator? Compared to the 80s, the role of the illustrator is arguably more diverse. The panel talks about photography dominating editoral, but this has changed over the years.

Many issues raised are still relevant today, if not more so. Prospects for students leaving education remain the same – not knowing what to do, not getting anywhere, and sometimes not trying. Agent Chris Meiklejohn reveals “what’s quite amazing is that they all go on holiday first. When I see students in October and ask where have you been since July, and they say I went round Greece.” Travelling and the almost compulsory gap year definitely still exist.

Pg 18+19_550_Outline

Illustration by Syd Brok

Debates about agents – do you need one? It’s perfectly possible to function without one, but if you get a good agent, it’s a good head start. Work can be unpredictable, the illustrator has to take what they can get in order to make a living and feed themselves, doing whatever job comes along, ‘bulldozing’ their style through, as illustrator Lynda Gray puts it, questioning “whether it’s a default or an asset”. That’s up to the individual to decide.

Pushing boundaries is also in the forefront. In order to create change, attitudes need to change, including everyone – the illustrator, the publisher, the agent and the art director.  “Every art director should take a chance” proposes Cherriwyn Magill, then art editor at Penguin Books. Taking chances has helped to shape illustration into the diverse, multi disciplined industry it is.