Friday, September 21, 2012

Jost Amman & Das Kunst und Lehrbüchlein

In my level 1 illustration for picture books class, one session is always dedicated to a brief overview of the history of illustration for picture books in North America as well as Europe, since the two are so inextricably linked. I always really enjoy this class since it gives me an excuse to brush up on my existing knowledge of the subject but more importantly and excitingly to add to it. 

I have taught the class for about two years now and every time I teach it, I like to add a bit to my knowledge of illustration's rich and fascinating history. It's pretty cool to be able to pick up dense scholarly books on the subject and to recognise and know a bit about most illustrators mentioned through out. There was no illustration department at my school when I attended so illustration was not included in my study of art history and everything I know today on the subject is self taught. I think that that's really cool and I'm proud of how much I have learned so far. I also hope that this keeps the class fun and fresh for both, my student and me. I really don't want to become one of those teachers who always teach the class in the exact same way, thus becoming stale and boring. Snorrrrrrrrr...

This time around I learned a bit more about one of the quoted many times over first picture books for kids. Namely 'Das Kunst und Lehrbüchlein' (1580) which includes many fine woodcuts by it's creator Jost Amman. I found this very interesting post about this book which talks about the concept behind the book and it's use. Mainly it was supposed to serve as inspiration and example for young (and old alike) artists who were interested in learning the skills of illustration. Back then this would have however not only meant perfecting your drawing skills but also to learn about the different types of woodcut through which the images were reproduced at the time.

I got a little over excited to begin with when seeing all the images of this instructional and inspirational work for young artists, thinking that it might have served as a colouring book (note the allowance of plenty of white spaces given to most depicted characters) but I according to the previously mentioned blog post it was not. Also one has to consider that there probably were no crayons for kids lying around the houses back in 1580. Back then I would imagine that art materials of any type were only common amongst those in the proffesion of illustration and their apprentices. Having said that, the age that one would become an apprentice was also much much younger than in todays world.

If You'd like to learn more about Jost Amman click here and here. To view the rest of the inside of 'Das Kunst und Lehrbüchlein' click here to enter the amazing German Kupferstich Kabinet database

All Images ©  HAUM 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Violeta Lopiz

The summer break is over and just like that... I have a new favorite illustrator :)
OMG! So fantastic!
Check out her siiiiite! 
I am in love

                                                              All Images © Violeta Lopiz 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Advise on Picture Books in Uppercase Magazine

The new Uppercase Magazine is out! The theme is play and included is a healthy dose on the subject of picture books... it just might be my favorite issue yet! And no, it's not just because yours truly was invited to write a few words of advise for budding picture book creators, it's because I'm in such amazing company! There are features on John Klassen, Isabelle Arsenault and Oliver Jeffers (!!!) as well as some awesome advise from amazing publishing houses. And that's just a few of the articles.

As if that wasn't enough for me to be super excited, my friends from Collage Collage and the awesome toy shop Dilly Dally both here from Vancouver also happen to be featured in the issue. So yes, I really couldn't be happier with this issue! Number 14 Ladies and Gents! Go get your copy, check out my advise column and the rest of the magic.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A good list it is

I came across this list of 'The 20 most beautiful children's books of all time" on Flavorwire and they really are very beautiful indeed, but of course there sooooo many others that are just as beautiful as well... too many beautiful picture books... what a horrible problem to have;)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lorenzo Mattotti

Every year, the International Comic Salon happens in Erlangen, the small town in Germany that I grew up in. And pretty much every year my good friend Ilse attends and sends me all sorts of things that she thought  I'd like. This year she told me that in case I hadn't seen the illustrations that Lorenzo Mattotti had made for Hansel and Gretel I had better do that asap because he had just been awarded the "Max und Moritz Lifetime achievement prize for his life's work and they would blow me away...  she was so right!

Mattotti is a genius when it comes to colour but these black and white illustrations for the age old story recorded by the brothers Grimm, really made me look, and look and then look some more. How fantastic are those brushstrokes? When you look at these images you are thrown right into the essence of the dark and scary tale and all of it's ghoulish landscape. Love these so much! Having said that, do check out Mattotti's other work as well. He such a talented, versatile and prolific artist.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cool Books by Cool Kids:)

This post is long overdue.
I have been wanting to do a post about kids MAKING books and illustrating them for a long time. So when I recently did an author presentation at the Cunningham Elementary School here in Vancouver, I really couldn't put it off any longer. After I showed them the books I made, I got to see some books that they had made and that was of course really fun for me! Here are just a very very few of some seriously hilarious but also fantastic book covers. The kids at Cunningham are great and so are their teachers. It was so cool to see so much fantastic artwork up in the halls and I loved that they had already made their own books. Very cool.

These pictures are also from a book made by a very clever kid who doesn't go to Cunningham though. His mom took one of my illustration courses and gave me this book made by her super talented son at the end of class. I really love everything about it from the way he re-purposed an ordinary journal to make the book to the use of two panels for every page of his book. Well done Kiernan and thanks so much to you and all the kids at Cunningham too for showing me your awesome books!

You guys are my inspiration!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ezra Jack Keats

•Reproduced with permission of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation

One of the things I love the most about teaching is that it's such a great motivator to expand my own knowledge of the rich history of illustration. Every time I look at my notes for the session of my class that deals with the history of the subject, I find about ten-gazillion illustrators, printing processes or other things related that I want to know more about and pass onto my students. This time around I did a little bit of research on Ezra Jack Keats. These two sites here and here have been helpful for me; one of them being the Ezra Jack Keats foundation which also shows a photo sequence taken of a little boy.. who was the inspiration for Keat's most famous Peter Stories. I love that they put this piece of inspiration up on the site because it demonstrates so clearly and perfectly how whole entire stories can be crafted out of images.

A couple of these images are taken from a fantastic blog I just found which is all about Vintage Picture books. The blog is called "My Vintage Book Collection in Blog Form" and here is a link to it. Thanks Mallory for scanning these for us! :) 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Little Nemo In Slumberland

Here is a great quote from a great site about Winsor Mc Cay, and his amazingly groundbreaking comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland.

His most famous work, Little Nemo in Slumberland. Little Nemo , which ran from 1905 to 1911, is the pinnacle of comic strip art in the first decade of the 20th century. It displays an unparalleled application of Art Nouveau graphic style, translating sinewy, irregular forms and rhythms into a delightfully decorative comic strip design. The strips related the fantastic adventures which befell the child Little Nemo, who always woke up in the last panel of the comic strip.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Winsor McCay

There is no doubt that Little Nemo in Slumberland by the great Winsor McCay is amazing and completely ahead of it's time. Here are only a very few of the many many, beyond imaginative strips. There used to be a fantastic book that had a collection of the weekly strips in it but it's currently out of print. Let's hope not for long. I'll make the next entry about more on Mc Cay. Here's some art to get you interested to know moooore in the meantime and I found a really great blog entry on the prolific McCay here on this blog called Kleefeld on Comics 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ingrid Van Nyman's Pippi Longstocking

Soon Drawn and Quarterly is going to release the original comic book versions of Pippy Longstocking which were written by Astrid Lindgren herself (!) and illustrated by the original illustrator of the Pippi Longstocking books namely, Ingrid Van Nyman. I myself grew up with the Pippi Books illustrated by Walter Scharnweber (the German version I guess) which I am quite fond of. Having said that I am super excited to find the work of Nyman and am already totally in love with her now. Such a fun feel to them, so much imagination in there and I love the colours. It's crazy to think that she ended up tragically taking her own life. What a tragedy. She was so fantastic!