We recently went along to the opening of an exhibition of emerging Scottish picture books illustrators at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Picture Hooks was set up by author Vivian French and agent Lucy Juckes. Initially, they held a conference at the Edinburgh College of Art, to demystify the picture book publishing industry and assist new graduates from art school in their journey towards publication.
Then, under the guidance of established professional, prize-winning illustrators – Catherine Rayner, Ross Collins, Natalie Russell, Alison Murray and Sue Heap – five illustrators were mentored for a year, giving them the chance to focus step by step on the development of their work. Their work now forms a stunning new exhibition at The Scottish National Gallery which runs until February 2014.
Co-founder and author Vivian French says: “It’s been a huge and exciting journey for all five illustrators and the development of their work has been sensational.”
The award of Picture Hooks Scottish Illustrator 2013 was presented by acclaimed artist John Bryne to illustrator Laura Clark, and Orchard Books, a sponsor and supporter of the mentorship scheme, selected Stuart Simpson as the illustrator for potential publication.
Picture Hooks is supported by partners Orchard Books, The Edinburgh College of Art and Creative Scotland.
Find out more about the Picture Hooks scheme and the exhibition at The National Gallery of Scotland which runs until 16th February 2014.
Here are examples of the work exhibited by three of the emerging illustrators...
Posted by Simon Lewin on December 3rd, 2013
If you're visiting the Edinburgh Book Festival this year, illustrator and printmaker Jon McNaught will be holding a creating graphic novels workshop (on Saturday 24th August) and talking with fellow artist Glyn Dillon about the graphic novel (on Monday 26th August).
Jon McNaught's latest book, Dockwood, weaves together the everyday lives of three locals against an evocative backdrop of autumnal transitions. Bittersweet and contemplative, Dockwood is for anyone who believes the stories that take place within life’s small moments can often be the most meaningful of all.
Posted by Simon Lewin on August 17th, 2013
The Gentle Author’s Spitalfields Life blog has become a regular stopping off point when online, with new posts published daily. Today, guest contributor David Buckman (author of From Bow To Biennale about the East London Group) has written a feature on the artist Barnett Freedman - explaining why the work of this contemporary of Bawden and Ravilious deserves to be more widely known.
His colour and black and white lithographic illustrations for Siegfried Sassoon's ‘Memoirs of an Infantry Officer’ first attracted me to his work when I spotted a copy in a bookshop in Museum Street when I was still a student but, as it was a first edition, it was way beyond my means and stayed firmly put on the shelf.
Alongside his illustration and printmaking, he also produced typographic work embellished with the textures and patterns that resulted from his skilled celebration of the lithographic process. Clients included Ealing Films, British Petroleum, General Post Office and Wedgwood.
We were lucky enough to purchase a couple Freedman pieces a couple of years ago via Simon Lawrence at Fleece Press who is representing an archive on behalf of the Barnett Freedman Estate.
Read David Buckman’s article in full over at Spitalfields Life. Images courtesy of Special Collections, Manchester Metropolitan University and Fleece Press.
Find our more about the work available from Fleece Press.
Posted by Angie Lewin on June 2nd, 2013
We had the pleasure of printmaker Chloe Cheese's company last week - she was staying with us whilst working on a print for our St. Jude's In The City exhibition in Edinburgh in July.
The week before we'd received of Chloe's mother Sheila Robinson's illustrated book of the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses.
This was never published in her lifetime but The Centre for Children's Book Studies at Anglia Ruskin University have worked with the Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden (who hold the original artwork in their archives) to publish the book for the first time, instigated by Professor Martin Salisbury with additional design and retouching by Brian Webb of Webb & Webb Design.
The illustrations - with skilfully varied weight of line and texture - are just beautiful. Where she has applied colour it is in a simple printmakerly way and the delicate script text and drawings are combined to fit a landscape format. The dust jacket is lined with spreads from her original sketchbooks. It's a beautiful piece of print.
Printmaker Chloe Cheese says of the book…
"The beautiful pen and ink drawings and delicate text of this book fascinated me when I was a child and drew me into the enchanted world of the fairy tale.
Although she hoped for publication at the time, she was still a young woman and I think other things, such as working on The Festival of Britain, marrying and having children, took over her life so that this book was put to one side.
The princesses in the boats rowing across the lake in particular is an image that fired my imagination and inspired me to emulate my mother to become an illustrator myself. Looking at this illustration now I admire the lightness of touch and the use of light and shade. The picture still takes me to the edge of the lake and into the story."
Posted by Angie Lewin on March 11th, 2013
I'm really looking forward to seeing James Russell's new book, published by the Mainstone Press, about Eric Ravilious' Submarine series of lithographs. Created during the winter of 1940-41, these prints capture the cramped conditions inside a naval submarine during wartime.
Above all this series of ten prints are brilliant examples of how auto-lithography faithfully reproduces - and even enhances - the qualities of drawn line and texture. They're not mere reproductions of watercolour drawings. Ravilious' skill as a printmaker is evident - especially in the images with the striking use of bright yellow and blue with graphite grey.
So far I've only seen these images - I can't wait to see the book in the flesh. Will report back soon.
Posted by Angie Lewin on February 13th, 2013
Jonny Hannah's 'Burns Miscellany' landed on our doormat today with spontaneous drawings printed onto vibrant coloured pages. Timorous Sassanachs that we are, we didn't indulge in traditional the haggis fare last night but are big fans of Tunnocks of all varieties - including Mark Hearld's collage, exhibited at Godfrey & Watt in 2011 (see last image).
You can see more of Jonny's printmaking over at St. Jude's Prints.
Posted by Angie Lewin on January 26th, 2013
One of the joys of my job is getting to see behind the scenes when the artists we collaborate with at St. Jude's work on new projects.
Never more the case than for the past couple of years of working with Mark Hearld whilst he's been creating work for his Walker Books A First Book of Nature, his recently published Mark Hearld's Work Book and this forthcoming exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Birds and Beasts showcases Mark Hearld’s practice which stems from a love of the British countryside, curiosity for objects and a magpie approach to collecting. He has taken inspiration from YSP’s 500-acre historic estate and its inhabitant wildlife to create new work, all of which is available to buy. The Park’s visitor centre and Upper Space gallery are decorated with Mark’s hand-painted wooden animals; three-dimensional, hand-decorated ceramic hares; collages in hand-painted frames, lino-cuts, and limited edition litho prints. A flock of hand-decorated wooden pigeons hang in the concourse and found objects will feature in a characteristically eccentric window display.
We're delighted that Mark's fabrics for St. Jude's will be on display, alongside his award winning Harvest Hare wallpaper (you might also get a glimpse of our forthcoming Harvest Hare fabric - sign up to our newsletter for details of this nearer the time).
The exhibition opens at Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield on 17 November 2012 and runs until 17 February 2013. On Saturday 17th November Mark will be on hand to sign copies of his new book for Merrell, Mark Hearld's Work Book. For full details please visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park website.
Pictured below: Mark at work in his studio, his Autumn Fox limitededition lithograph for the exhibition, Harvest Hare - Mark's award winning wallpaper for St. Jude's, the bag and scarf that he has produced for the exhibition and his Bird Garden fabric for St. Jude's. (Images 1, 2, 4 and 5 copyright Jonty Wilde).
Posted by Simon Lewin on November 13th, 2012
Merrell very kindly sent me a copy of their recent publication A Book For Cooks.
Food writer and self-confessed bibliophile Leslie Geddes-Brown (who I had the pleasure of working with on Plants and Places) surveys 101 pioneering cookbooks, selected by her for their influence, their unusual recipes or simply for their beauty.
There's a brilliant selection of books cover a range of cuisines and dating from the seventeenth century to the present day - with each entry including a brief commentary on the book plus photographs of its cover and several inside pages.
Plenty of our own favourites feature - Colman Andrew's 'Catalan Cuisine', 'Plats Du Jour' by Patience Gray and Primrose Boyd (wonderfully illustrated by David Gentleman) and Ottolenghi's 'The Cookbook'.
But we've now got out eye on others - such as 'First Slice Your Cook Book' by Arabella Boxer.
I'll also take this opportunity to mention the unsung hero of many of the books connected with St. Jude's, Nicola Bailey - the creative director at Merrell.
I've had the pleasure of working with Nicola on the design of Plants and Places, as did Chris Brown on his An Alphabet Of London and Mark Hearld did with his recently published Mark Hearld's Workbook.
In A Book For Cooks Nicola has done an amazing job at bringing together so many strong graphic book covers.
Posted by Angie Lewin on November 12th, 2012
Published by Merrell on 26th October 2012, Mark Hearld's Work Book explores the work of this prolific artist.
Hearld finds his inspiration in the flora and fauna of the British countryside: a blue-eyed jay perched on an oak branch; two hares enjoying the spoils of an allotment; a mute swan standing at the frozen water's edge; and a sleek red fox prowling the fields. He admires such twentieth-century artists as Edward Bawden, John Piper, Eric Ravilious and Enid Marx, and, like them, he chooses to work in a range of media paint, print, collage, textiles and ceramics. Workbook is the first collection of Hearld's beguiling art.
The works are grouped into nature-related themes introduced by Hearld, who narrates the story behind some of his creations and discusses his influences. He explains his particular love of collage, which he favours for its graphic quality and potential for strong composition.
Art historian Simon Martin contributes an essay on Hearld's place in the English popular-art tradition, and also meets Hearld in his museum-like home to explore the artist's passion for collecting objects, his working methods and his startling ability to view the wonders of the natural world as if through a child's eyes.
On Monday 22nd October 2012 Mark received his Elle Decoration British Design Award for his Harvest Hare wallpaper for St. Jude's. Thank you to everyone who took the trouble to vote!
Posted by Simon Lewin on September 14th, 2012
Featuring a beautiful brand new cover painting by James Lewis, a rejigged design inside and a new introduction by Charles Rangeley-Wilson, all orders taken before 15th May 2012 will be despatched ahead of publication date and signed by the editors and as many of the contributors they can get their hands on.
Order your copy online today.
Posted by Simon Lewin on May 1st, 2012