Sunday, 18 April 2021

Emile Jadoul


The art of parenting even with eight arms is extremely difficult, 'Papoulpe' by Emile Jadoul, published March 2020 by Pastel.

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Kiln Stilts


I go to the beach every day it is less than 200 yards from my home. I live north of Edinburgh in a town called Kirkcaldy, where I used to work as an art lecturer before I left to retrain as a children's illustrator. This was a very busy industrial town in the 19th  and early 20th century with a coal mine, lino and linen works, and three potteries to name a few of the industries. I clean the beach every day of its contemporary litter and sometimes I gather its historic midden to.

Normally I leave the kiln stilts choosing instead the patterned ceramics and ginger beer bottles. I also have a love for the many bits of old teapots, particularly the perforated spouts, which I like to write imagined stories of the prior owners and the tales that the teapot overheard.

For some reason I picked up the kiln stilts this week, they are the pieces that you put between pots and kiln to prevent them from sticking. They are like the bones of the old industry and that made me think of fossils and skeletons. 

The older stilts are decorated, from a time when life was still about beauty and less concerned with profit. 
I have allowed myself some play time, I really like making the turtles, the shapes seem to lend themselves to these best. 

Friday, 16 April 2021

James Yang

"When I signed the deal for "A Boy Named Isamu", a designer friend asked where I got the inspiration. I said that Isamu's childhood of not fitting in with American kids because he was too Japanese or Japanese kids because he was too American resonated with a part of my childhood." James Yang

A boy named Isamu is based on the life of sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988), with James Yang imagining a day in the life of Isamu Noguchi as a child seeing the world through a childs/ artists eyes, it won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award in 2020.               


Thursday, 15 April 2021

Elinor Weise

“Ping and Pong on Cuckoo's Balcony” written by Franz Zauleck and illustrated by Elinor Weise, published by Jacoby Stuart in 2019. One morning, when Mr. Cuckoo was buying the newspaper, as he did every day, the newspaper seller pointed to a small man with a stiff hat and umbrella who otherwise looked very much like a penguin. He calls himself Mr. Ping. The newspaper seller explains to Mr. Kuckuck that she will fly to Tenerife the next day and can no longer take care of the little guy. Couldn't Mr. Kuckuck take him in? Mr. Cuckoo is a good person, so he takes Mr. Ping into his tiny apartment. Unfortunately, Mr. Ping does not always know how to behave, and moreover, he mostly resides in Mr. Cuckoo's refrigerator, although because the freezer is broken there he sometimes cools down in the toilet cistern. 

A tender book about a unique friendship beautifully illustrated by Elinor Weise.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Franz Zauleck

'Winter war es und grimmig kalt' (It Was Winter and Grimly Cold) by Franz Zauleck published in 1989. Five cats struggle with the cold of winter, and go to the forest to cut trees but the trees are too thick or two thin, too big, too small and so they head home with no wood, to get chided by their sister for being lazy. 

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Walter Grieder III

"The Birthday Party" 1961 by Walter Grieder. It is similar in style and mood to early John Burningham books like Borka.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Walter Grieder II


Walter Grieder's 'The Great Feast' published by Parents’ Magazine Press in 1968 about two flower girls attending a wedding. 

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Walter Grieder I

I adore these bold, woodcut illustrations by Walter Grieder (1914-2004) over plain blocks of colour for 'The Enchanted Castle' published in 1965. Walter Grieder attended the arts and crafts schools in St. Gallen and Basel. He then worked as a commercial artist in Paris and London. From 1957 he worked as a freelance illustrator in Basel illustrating both self-written stories and texts by renowned authors. From the 1980s onward he worked primarily as a painter, draftsman and printmaker.              


Saturday, 10 April 2021

How Mary Walker Learned to Read

The Oldest Student: 'How Mary Walker Learned to Read' by Rita Lorraine Hubbard, illustrated by Oge Mora published by Schwartz & Wade/Random 2020. 

In 1848, Mary Walker was born in Union Springs, Alabama, into slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 freeing her family from slavery, at twenty she was married and had her first child. Mary Walker was to marry twice and had three sons but had outlived her family by 1962 including a son who lived to be 94. 

Despite being illiterate she worked in many jobs including; as a cleaner and childminder. Then the extraordinary happened. In 1963 aged 115, she met a woman named Helen Kelly, a volunteer teacher for the Chattanooga Area Literacy Literacy Movement (CALM). Helen Kelly was an incredible teacher and by the time she was 116 years of age Mary Walker had learned to read. 

Mary died in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the USA on 1 December 1969, having survived slavery and a lifetime of discrimination, at the age of 121 years and 209 days.



Friday, 9 April 2021

Hatsuyama Shigeru

'Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales' illustrated by Hatsuyama Shigeru (1897-1973) in 1925. 

Born in Asakusa, Tokyo in 1897, In 1906 Hatsuyama studied under Araki Tanrei, a Kano-school painter and in 1907 he worked on kimono patterns at a workshop in Kanda-Imagawabashi. In 1911 he became a disciple of Ikawa Sengai, a Japanese-style painter known for his bijinga (images of beautiful women). Hatsuyama became best known for his children's illustrations and later his prints.