Archive for January, 2017
Written by Maureen Furniss
Published by Thames and Hudson ISBN: 9780500252178
Reviewed by Karl Andy Foster
I’m a keen admirer of animation and all my recent work is animated so this should make me very positive about this book. That said I do need to remain objective. Maureen Furniss has achieved her aim of bringing together her vast knowledge of the subject, its history, its impact and its possible future directions. The book flows well and the writing style aids understanding and fact gathering. Animation The Global History brings her 30 years of lectures and learning materials together as she attempts to put a marker down for future scholars of the subject. This history is shown in chronological order, as is the convention in Parts 1 – 3 with the subsequent chapters devoted to the key themes, actors and landmark advances.
Animation The Global History surveys the cultural, political and economic advances from scientific mechanisms (automatons), through lantern shows, to early cell animation and the key innovators taking care to note the debt owed to video games and Japanese visual language. CGI that we encounter everyday has a legacy that stretches back to the 1920’s. It is interesting to see how prominent cartoon characters became early on as part of the growing fields of marketing, advertising and brand identity. We also see how migration from Europe to the US in the 1920/30’s enhanced the potential and creative direction of animation.
I have worked with students for many years investigating narrative structures with them and I found it was always their poor contextualisation of this subject that held them back at times. This book will furnish them with the breadth they need. The discovery of how ideas were explored (particularly in the 20th Century) by embracing this time-based medium will help them to analyse their own work. This book achieves its academic purpose in the following manner:
1. Each section starts with a spread showing the chapter headings and a graphic timeline that displays the historical, technological and political events that shaped the development and promotion of animated products.
2. Each chapter page gives the chapter outline and the global storylines that allows you to search for relevant content.
3. Each chapter has a conclusion page that also provides the reader with notes and key terms, a must in our age of search engines. Further study can be facilitated in this way.
Younger readers obsessed with the technical and poetic magic of imagery and storytelling will also enjoy reading this book. The philosophical and psychological impact of animation on its creators and readers could have been covered in greater depth. I feel that as well as the scope and breath of the content more depth is required to add distinctiveness.
Animation The Global History can be used as a structured guide to this relatively young art form and commercial enterprise. Maureen Furniss has given us a book that we can read for pleasure and a narrative that we can recall with ease. Perhaps this is enough for now as the books global scope covers all the players in the game. It is an important to note that censorship has shaped what we can see and what we are discouraged from expressing. When a scholar exposes the cultural, political and economic context of a dynamic industry might there still be room for the subjective? Walt Disney may still have his name above the film title but it is time-based storytelling that is the real star of the show.
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Ben Tallon heads to the Design Week office in central London to talk to editor, Tom Banks about the brilliant Age Of Design project.
Design is now a key driver for businesses and organisations looking to innovate, differentiate themselves from competitors and get closer to their users.
But what do these organisations mean by design and how are they using it?
Throughout the Age of Design project, series of key case studies of businesses using innovative design are investigated – from public sector organisations looking to improve their customers’ experiences to car companies using design to innovate and prepare for the future. This panel of design experts will provide commentary and analysis and consider how design thinking could shape our future experiences.
Welcome to the Age of Design.
Written by Ben Handicott
Illustrated by Kenard Pak
Published by Wide Eyed Editions ISBN: 9781847808493
Reviewed by Karl Andy Foster
The cover is a gentle image of an atlas that wraps around the book. The friendly children populating the atlas greet the reader. This image describes exactly what we can expect of the contents. The title is bold and is accompanied by a round sticker, announcing a free App to download.
The App adds an extra dimension to the interaction with this publication. It’s useful because children can actually hear the words spoken in the language of their choice. I can imagine children copying the speech patterns and enjoying the new sounds and inflections from their counterparts living half a world away.
The premise is simple, all over our planet there are children and they all say the same things to communicate with one another. What is your name? My name is… How are you? I’m fine and HELLO. The book ranges across seven continents showing that humans are everywhere, what is it that makes them different but most importantly how much they have in common. There is an instructive foreword by Wade Davis, Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia to give context to the evolution of spoken language. Author Ben Handicott has selected from a possible 7000 languages and 130 variations to give the reader a realistic idea of who we are and how articulate humans have become over thousands of years. There is also page on How To Use This Book. The structure first introduces the region of the Atlas, then a full-page location image followed by three featured languages per page for the majority of the region.
The illustrations by Kenard Pak are stylized to universalize the children with minimum room for accurate ethnic description beyond skin tone, hair shape and eye colour. There is one nod to regional individuality with the inclusion of Iceland’s best export after fish and Magnus Magnusson: Bjork! Where the artist succeeds best is in the full-page location images of places like Rio, South Thailand, North Africa, Kenya and New Zealand. The book is aimed at children aged six and older and the selected typefaces are easy to read for this audience. The page information hierarchy is aided by the inclusion of flat colours.
Wide Eyed Editions have produced a book that opens up the world to children and helps them to consider the differences in language and location but most importantly the exciting fact that it can be a friendly world with universal communication needs.
7 January 2017
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20 July – 23 July 2017
COEX Hall D, Seoul, South Korea
We are pleased to announce that the World Illustration Awards will tour internationally for the first time this year, and we will kickstart the tour at one of the hottest Illustration Fairs in the East: The Seoul Illustration Fair 2017 (THESIF).
Welcoming over 250 participating artists from all over the world and 37000 visitors in last year’s edition, THESIF is one of the biggest professional fairs in the illustration industry in South Korea. Bursting with high quality graphic work of all styles and mediums, it’s the perfect hub to discover and get inspired by work showcased not only by professionals but also by emerging talent.
The AOI will not only bring the World Illustration Awards exhibition over to South Korea, but we will also participate as International partners and become a part of the fair’s many activities, all to be announced soon!
We welcome proposals to keep showing the World Illustration Awards in more exciting destinations around the globe! If you are interested to host the exhibition, please contact Sabine at [email protected].
Sheffield based graphic designer, illustrator and AOI Member Lisa Maltby has set a great example of how we can turn negative experiences into great creative source material. Collating a number of put downs from both her professional and personal life, Lisa has created a hilarious series of typographic artworks from them!
Whilst some defy belief and others are more naive than malicious, Lisa’s project won her a great deal of plaudits, creative industry press and new awareness of her work. It’s an example of how we can channel our unique journeys and experiences into our output, forging our own identity and attracting the right kind of attention.
Tuesday 17th – 20th January
UWE F Block Gallery, Bristol – Private View Monday 16th from 6pm
Between the years of 1953 and 1982, Feliks Topolski published his Chronicles of the Century.
Continuing the legacy of Topolski, six young artists have documented events, people and places in London over the autumn of 2016 through reportage drawing. The residents have been examining what Britishness means today through the shifting politics, people and landscapes of London.
Locations such as Millwall Oktoberfest contrast against London Fashion Week, Elephant and Castle stares over at Drag Queens at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, while Pearly Kings and Queens sit beside drawings of the Jungle in Calais. Three months of location drawing will be on show, and a lithographic printed newspaper – the Chronicle – will be displayed and available to buy.
In this new age of social media journalism and post-truth, perhaps we need to explore issues in new ways? Or perhaps by going back to the way stories would be reported in the past? In-situ drawings and conversations have been the focus of this residency, and we invite you to engage with current issues of 2016 through these images, as well as consider the role of the artist as reporter.
Written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc
Published by Book Island ISBN: 9780994109873
Reviewed by Rachel Morris
Stepping through the door of the Québec Government Office on a rainy, grime-streaked London night into a warm welcome was a bit like being the bird sheltering in the lion’s mane. This was the UK launch of The Lion and The Bird.
Marianne Dubuc, Canadian author/illustrator of this and a sizeable catalogue of other picture books, was interviewed by Children’s Book Editor for The Times, Nicolette Jones who describes the book as; “a story about friendship, but also about kindness to strangers, about loss and grief, about the seasons, about memory and loyalty, about solitude and companionship.” She went on to say, “There’s a lot going on in a book with so few words.” Marianne agrees – she has always enjoyed telling a story, but most of all telling a story through drawing, which naturally grows into a picture book. After all, the idea for this story was partly sparked by the very visual notion of a bird nestled in a lion’s mane.
When Marianne was 10 years old, she was interviewed for a TV programme in Canada. The question was, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. At 10 years old, being grown up seemed too far away to make that big decision, so she told them what she liked doing at the time… which was drawing! The encouraging message for the group of school children at the launch was that you can do anything and become anything you want to be. Unless you want to be a unicorn. That, says Marianne, would be more difficult.
The children asked some great questions: “Why are there only two characters in the book?” Being an only child, Marianne says that friendships have always been very important to her. So, the themes of friendship and solitude are emphasised by there only being two characters in the book.
This led to the next question, “What inspired you to choose the themes of migration and change?” Marianne told us about a friendship from her own childhood that had drifted apart in their teenage years. Her mother had told her not to worry, that one day they would meet in the street and be friends again – which turned out to be true. So Marianne says that the story is about accepting that things change and people leave, but they may come back. It’s a story wide open to interpretation. A woman living in a different country to her grandchildren had drawn parallels between the story and her own trips to spend time with family; like a bird migrating back and forth!
Marianne told us about the changes made to The Lion and The Bird when the rights were bought by a publisher in the US. The creative freedom given to her by the original publisher in Canada, allowed her to leave a double page spread completely blank, signifying the quiet companionship between the lion and bird through the long Winter. After some respectful to-ing and fro-ing, the US publisher removed the blank pages, worried that people would wrongly assume there had been a printing error.
Fortunately for readers in the UK, Book Island have kept the snowy blank pages, affording the reader that beautiful space to reflect and enjoy the pace of a peaceful Winter, woven into the story. It reminds me of the “Have a break for a minute to talk (about it)” scene (words on the screen, in the style of a silent movie) in Michel Ocelot’s 2003 animation, Princes and Princesses. Or, as Nicolette Jones said – the blank page to signify the atomic bomb’s explosion in Raymond Briggs’s When the Wind Blows. That clever change of pace has a different purpose in each instance, but what a lovely, visual way to give the reader a bit of time.
There’s a gentle and very natural rhythm to The Lion and the Bird, and also a flexibility in the way the two characters and narrator speak. Marianne says that the idea was that the dialogue could be interchangeable between the Lion and Bird. Specifically, “Oh, they’re gone” spoken by either character, depending on your mood, as we see Bird’s flock fly away for the Winter at the start of the story.
The UK edition has been sensitively translated by Sarah Ardizzone from the original French. They have managed to capture the sparse nature of the text even though, as Marianne points out, there are some ideas you can convey using two words in French but in English it may take a few more. There’s a nice parallel there too with the friendship in the book between the Bird and Lion that transcends language. (Without ruining the plot!) at one point in the story the Bird says “cheep!” And the Lion simply replies, “Yes, I know”.
So poignant and hopeful, this is a perfect story to start a new year.
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Happy 2017 to you all!
We kickstart our blog in 2017 with a brand new Arrest All Mimics podcast just launched yesterday. This episode showcases Rabble Studios, just launched earlier in 2016. At a time when property developers are gobbling up creative spaces for fun, Ben Tallon meets with founder and designer Dan Spain. Rabble houses 24 creative professionals and also functions as a creative events, talks, hub and function space in Cardiff. Dan talks about finding a place to work to stave off the cabin fever, and also taking one step further to self-finance and open a much bigger co-working set up.
What challenges has he faced and how has he linked up with other independent businesses in the area? This episode is is a great piece of enterprising and a valuable insight into what creatives need to do to turn the tide against the property virus in order to safeguard a creative business presence in our towns and cities.
13 January – 22 February 2017
Monday–Friday 9.30am–5pm , Admission free
Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, Outer Circle, London NW1 4QP
Artist Talk: Tuesday 14 February 2017, 6pm The artist will be joined in conversation by Olivia Ahmad, Curator, House of Illustration.
2s, 3s & 4s is the first London solo exhibition of Natsko Seki, an established freelance illustrator known for her bright and playful style. For Seki, each project is an opportunity to take up a challenge and discover more – experimenting with new techniques in the pursuit of a new language. Exploring the role of the narrative in her artwork is her most recent obsession and is at the core of her work in this show.
Comparison, a process which encourages you to search for similarities and differences in equal measure, is central to Seki’s practice. Her work is focused on discovering analogies and correlations between things made in different times and places, and different countries, cultures, colour combinations, costumes and buildings.