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! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Eric Carle

This will not the be the only Eric Carle Post. Just like with all of the greats I put it off and put it off to get the perfect idea for a post... but enough with that. I will simply start anywhere and write this short but not unimportant one here. I recently made a new picture book friend and he is wanting to create a meaningful picture book. The kind that will stay with you for longer than just the time you read it. The kind that will continue to occupy your thinking and might become a part of you eventually. 

I am almost done reading Eric Carle's fantastic autobiography (autobiography and so much more) "The Art of Eric Carle" and there is a part I have come across that I find to be really simple and graceful and most of all true on the subject of 'How to make a Picture book'.

Here are a few lines from the book:

"If a recipe on How To Make a Picture Book were possible, it would go something like this: Take thirty-two pages (most picture books are thirty two pages). Confine your story within these limitations. These limitations are of a technical nature. Your creative possibilities are endless. It helps to have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Here are some very basic ingredients to a few of my books:

In The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I started with the holes - accidentally, playfully. The holes were the given. Now the caterpillar needed to be invented. 

In the Very Busy Spider, the spider was the given. Now all I needed was the raised web. 

In The Grouchy Ladybug, I wanted to deal with the concept of size. Now all I needed was an interesting story. 

To these basic ingredients the following are added: Your love for animals, big and small.
Your appreciation of Nature. 

Your father's love and his sense of passing on existing knowledge.

You include your likes and dislikes, your view of the world, your feelings." 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hans Christian Andersen's Paper Cuttings

The other day I picked up a book titled "The Amazing Paper Cuttings of Hans Christian Andersen" and it totally blew my mind. I had never thought to research Andersen in detail up to now and I have to say that I think I am subconsciously savoring it until I resume my schooling. I have been giving 'doing my Masters in Children's Literature' quite a bit of thought in the past year and think that once time permits it, it might be an inevitability... However, when I saw this book I had to cheat a bit and immerse myself in the super magical world that was Andersen's life.

Growing up poor he really made his own luck by sticking his foot into all sorts of noble and elite doors, mastering his art of verbal and written storytelling and ...as I have now discovered... Paper Cuttings.
According to the book and it's sources, Andersen would perform his fabulous fairy tales to an enrapt audience whilst seemingly randomly cutting away at a piece of paper with a gigantic pair of scissors. At the end of the story he would unfold the paper to reveal all sorts of absolutely amazing and original works of art. They did not have to coincide with the story he was telling but did feature a steady repertoire of his established character favorites that inhabited his stories such as bakers, dancers, 4 armed - windmill type men, as well as more macabre images like men hanging on gallows, and Andersen's favorite and perhaps his symbol for himself, ... swans.

Andersen never made any drawn plans for these cuttings, they are so to say, spontaneous cutting, like you would create a drawing without prior planning. A doodle-cut so to speak. Because of this and because of their imagery they were quite different from the many other paper cuttings from this time. Paper cuttings in general were quite popular in the 1800's when Andersen was alive and many people would commission a paper cut like you'd commission a portrait so that one's image would be remembered for the next generation of one's family. Camera's were still new, very expensive and not commonly used until later.

Here is an excellent and super fun podcast on Andersen and his life by 'How Stuff Works' Podcast that my good friend Rebecca turned me onto, after having told her about my new discovery.

I am sure there will be at least one more entry on Andersen in the future here somewhere. I am quite fittingly enchanted by his own fairy tale.

Here are some sites on Andersen and his work.



And here is a small blog post on him by a very beautiful blog that I just discovered and one one the daddytypes blog here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In Memory Of Maurice Sendak

Well, today was a big day in the land of Picture Book Illustration. Maurice Sendak passed away at 83. How sad to loose such an inspiring, strange and rebellious talent.

His book Where The Wild Things are was an integral part of so many of our childhoods and though he will be sorely missed, his stories and pictures will never be forgotten.

Here is a link to a previous post I did on Maurice Sendak along with some very interesting video clip interviews with him.
I also posted a commemorative drawing in his honor today on my sketchblog.

Here are just a very few of Sendak's great works. If you only know Where the Wild Things Are, go and buy some other gems of his. An all time favorite of mine is the complete Nutshell library which features mini versions of Chicken Soup with Rice and Alligator Alphabet. So great! Good bye Maurice Sendak, you were so amazing!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Oliver Jeffers is soooooo Greaaaaat

I pitty the fooo' who hasn't watched this video yet. ;)
Watch it for an awesome glimpse into the working process of the guy behind so many amazing picture books!

I use Jeffer's book "The Great Paper Caper" in my class all the time as a fantastic example of the intricate and fun relationship between Words and Pictures at it's finest. Get inspired by Jeffers!