Czech artist Karel Franta, the author of illustrations of books for children and winner of a number of international awards, died at the age of 89 on Wednesday.
Franta illustrated more than 100 books for children, mainly by Czech authors, and also the production of foreign, particularly German-language publishers.
VISA staff in Britain have “lost sight” of what immigration rules are intended to achieve, according to a senior Scottish MP, who has described the refusal of a visa for an acclaimed Iranian illustrator of children’s books as “a nonsense”.
Stuart McDonald, the SNP’s front-bench spokesperson on immigration, was speaking after the campaigning group Scottish PEN condemned the Home Office’s refusal to grant a visa to Ehsan Abdollahi to attend the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
The cover (by Chris Wormell, an award-winning British illustrator and print-maker, specialising in wood engraving and linocut techniques) of La Belle Sauvage, the first volume of Philip Pullman’s highly-anticipated The Book of Dust, has just been been revealed [today, Thursday 29th June 2017].
The image depicts the ‘massive flood’ at the centre of the new story and features the canoe, La Belle Sauvage, owned by Malcolm Polstead, the book’s hero. The cover also features another character, whose identity has not yet been revealed, and two dæmons.
Both the UK and US book jackets are designed by Wormell.
La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One will be published simultaneously on 19th October 2017 by David Fickling Books in association with Penguin Random House Children’s in the UK, and Random House Children’s Books in the US.
Philip Pullman says: “I’ve admired Chris Wormell’s artwork for a long time, and when the chance of having him illustrate the covers of my new novel came along I leapt at it. I relish his sure strong line and the graphic power of his images, in whatever medium he’s working. It’s been a delight to see the work emerge and I’m thrilled with the result.”
Chris Wormell adds: “Twenty years ago, my twelve-year-old son recommended a book he’d just finished reading. It was called Northern Lights. I loved it. My whole family loved it, and the two further volumes of the trilogy that followed. One of the first things my younger daughter – then eight – saw on the stage was the National Theatre’s production of His Dark Materials. She was spellbound. She’s loved live theatre ever since.
“It’s been wonderful to work with an author my family has enjoyed so much. Indeed, my older daughter commented, “Wow, Dad! Isn’t that one of the coolest jobs you’ve ever done?”
Recently, Philip Pullman said of the title: “Who or what is La Belle Sauvage? She is a boat, a canoe to be precise, and her owner is a boy, Malcolm Polstead, the hero of this story whom we have seen in an earlier part of Lyra’s story. The canoe is important in this part of The Book of Dust, because some of the story is set during a massive flood.”
Chris Wormell illustrated the first extract from La Belle Sauvage, which appeared in the Guardian in May 2017, revealing a baby Lyra, Malcolm and his canoe and the return of Lord Asriel, Lyra’s father, and his dæmon Stelmaria.
Wormell is an award-winning British illustrator and print-maker, specialising in wood engraving and linocut techniques. He has written and illustrated his own children’s books and was responsible for the iconic cover of Helen Macdonald’s Costa Book Award-winning memoir, H is For Hawk.
Two decades after Northern Lights (1995) (The Golden Compass in the US) — the first book of Pullman’s world-famous His Dark Materials trilogy, which has sold more than 17.5 million copies in over 40 languages — La Belle Sauvage will return to the parallel world that has enthralled readers young and old. It is set 10 years before Northern Lights and centers on the much-beloved Lyra Belacqua. Alethiometers, daemons, and the Magisterium all return to play their part.
When its publication date was announced in February, Waterstones MD James Daunt commented in The Bookseller: “It will be another queues at midnight book.” About His Dark Materials,Daunt added: “[His Dark Materials] introduces people to reading and cements their love of books. People go back to them again and again. They are hugely important and seminal.”
David Fickling – Pullman’s long-term editor – commented: “There is a mystery here, an exciting mystery and I urge any reader to set out on the adventure. You will not be disappointed. The Book of Dust is magnificent.”
If you love Instagram as much as we do, then you’ll undoubtedly be following Jane Foster – an illustrator, author and textile designer living in Devon, known for her bright, retro and Scandinavian inspired children’s books, wall art, mugs and other products.
Full of charm and creativity, Jane’s Instagram feed paints an idyllic life by the sea; you often see her dressed in the brightest of colours, enjoying walks on the beach with her family. And her home matches her work, with bold hues dotted throughout, against an appealing white backdrop. She even has her own studio in the garden.
We spoke to Jane about her creative life, inspirations and how she manages to make her Devon-based business a success.
for the interview > http://www.creativeboom.com/features/jane-foster/
The best way to tackle serious issues, said Klassen, is with a solid visual premise. Words aren’t within the jurisdiction of very young children. Their territory lies with the pictures. The trick is to allow kids to suss out the reality of a given situation via the illustrations.
“It’s not just more information,” said Klassen of moments like one in “We Found a Hat” when one turtle says he is thinking of nothing while his eyes are fixed covetously on the hat he wants to steal. “It’s actually the true story.”
So why the hat? Because hats aren’t necessary, said Klassen. If a character wanted his money back or his food back or something consequential along those lines, then the thievery would be justified. A hat is superfluous but sentimental. In these books the hats don’t even really fit the animals who want them.
“That doesn’t matter, it’s beside the point,” said Klassen. “Kids’ books should have a visual premise to solve. At the end of these books somebody better be wearing a hat.”
A broad cross-section of writers, ilustrators and publishers address the issue of equal recognition for illustrators of picture books.
Just one example:
Should illustrators for picturebooks be recognised alongside authors? The fact that this is even still being debated is nonsensical to me. Of course they should. Or rather I should I say, WE should. Some authoritative bodies are better at recognising this oversight (for that is all it is) than others, and really, I do not see any viable defence for the contrary. I am in the fortunate position of having both authored and illustrated books, but also being a gun for hire – brought in to visually co-create a book. I know full well the importance of the role of art in this realm that is equally made up by words and pictures. No one can seriously argue that illustrators do not play just as an important (or dare I say, possibly, occasionally, even MORE important) role than authors of picturebooks. It is as ridiculous as saying that no one judges a book by their cover, when in reality, we all do it. All the time. The cover is the first thing that any parent or child gravitates to when they see a book from across the library or bookshop. They immediately have a relationship with how the art makes them feel. The illustrations in picturebooks are essentially a child’s first interaction with art. A human beings first interaction with their cultural world. To not properly recognise the importance of this is to condemn the art in picturebooks to merely packaging. I’m sure even authors will agree that this should not be the case.
for the rest:
Independent bookshop Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath is engaging Lizzy Stewart as an ‘illustrator in residence’ during this year’s Bath Children’s Literature Festival.For the week starting 3rd October, Stewart will base herself in the shop, giving “people the chance to see what she’s up to”, said owner Nic Bottomley.“The idea, which we conceived with Lizzy’s agent Suresh Ariaratnam, was to give her space in the shop where she can continue her work as an illustrator,” he said. “People will be able to see what she’s working on at the moment.”
feature profile of Chris Riddell in Times Saturday Review by Alex O’Connell
Riddell, 54, has become one of the most successful and sought-after children’s book illustrators of his generation, as well as an accomplished children’s writer and The Observer’s spiky political cartoonist. His two series for 7 to 11-year-olds — the Ottoline and Goth Girl books, in which he creates words and pictures — are immensely popular and it’s impossible to walk into even the smallest bookshop and not find at least ten examples of his work on the shelves.
“I only ever write to give myself something to illustrate,” he says, speaking on the phone from his studio in Norfolk, his working retreat from his main home in Brighton, where he lives with his wife, the printmaker Jo Burroughes. “It sounds facetious but it’s true. I love words, I am a reader and the reading will sometimes inspire me to draw something. When I read on my own I have to collaborate with myself.”
His inimitable graphic style is one reason for his popularity. But the purchase he achieves on young imaginations comes from somewhere else: the sense of oddness, otherness, isolation and melancholy that suffuse his stories.
“I grew up with three brothers so maybe it’s wishful thinking that I lived in an isolated world,” he laughs. “But I’ve never really dug that deep to figure out where it comes from.”
He admits, however, that growing up in Belfast during the Troubles did have an effect on his world view. “I had a very happy, normal upbringing but there was a backdrop of violence, a sort of dichotomy of two different perspectives, two different sides effectively. Maybe there’s a lack of sweetness in the books because it never sat right, it felt unnatural.”
But, rare among those who achieve ubiquity in their field, Jeffers continues to push in directions both expected and unexpected. He maintains a parallel career as a painter, has dipped into film and video work and, though his latest project is aimed at children, it has seen him collaborate with an artist whose work is very much outside the genre: typographical artist Sam Winston.
Together he and Jeffers have created A Child Of Books. Five years in the making, its publisher Walker Books calls it a manifesto for reading, though Jeffers is quick to disavow any political intent.
Hugely recommended feature on Charles Keeping from The Gentle Author blog:
The illustrations of Charles Keeping (1924–1988) burned themselves into my consciousness as a child and I have loved his work ever since. A major figure in British publishing in the last century, Keeping illustrated over one hundred books (including the entire novels of Dickens) and won the Kate Greenaway and Carnegie Medals for his superlative talent.
In 1975, Keeping published ‘Cockney Ding Dong,’ in which he collected songs he remembered sung at home as a child. Illustrated with tender portraits of his extended family, the book is an unusual form of autobiography, recreating an entire cultural world through drawing and popular song.
Recently, I visited the Keeping Gallery at Shortlands in Kent to meet Vicky and Sean Keeping who talked to me about their father’s work, as we sat in the family home where they grew up and where much of his work is now preserved and displayed for visitors. You can read my interview at the end of this selection of illustrations from ‘Cockney Ding Dong.’