Archive for the ‘fairy tales’ Category

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Illustration: Willy Pogany’s Mother Goose

Willy Pogany's Mother Goose

One of my favorite blogs is David Apatoff’s Illustration Art. David is one of the best writers on the subject of art that I’ve read online. He’s unique because he thinks like an artist and he’s concise, two characteristics that are rare when it comes to art criticism in the blogosphere.

The other day, David posted about one of my favorite illustrators, Willy Pogany. (Read his post HERE.) You might recall that we featured Pogany on the Animation Resources site last Summer… (Willy Pogany’s Drawing Lessons) The post on Illustration Art discusses how much better Pogany’s work was when it was less embellished and more direct. I couldn’t agree more. I would add that it’s even better when it doesn’t take itself quite so seriously. A perfect example of Pogany at his absolute peak is a book that just happens to be my favorite illustrated children’s book, Willy Pogany’s Mother Goose.

Pogany's Mother GoosePogany's Mother GooseI’m afraid that viewing this book on the web puts you at a distinct disadvantage. This is one of those books that expresses itself beyond just the images. The size and weight of the book, the feel of the paper, the proportion of text blocks and margins, and the counterpoint in the layout of opposing pages all contribute to the powerful impression this book makes on the reader. The best way I can describe the feeling of reading this book is that each turn of the page is like revealing a new surprise.

From a design standpoint this book was revolutionary, because in 1928 when it was first published, the norm for illustrated books was to have uniform text blocks filling the bulk of the pages with an occasional hand tipped and tissue protected color plate. Pogany breaks all those conventions and makes every single page a fully illuminated illustration. I think it could be argued that this is one of the very first modern children’s books. The watercolors are rendered quickly in a deceptively simple style, but they’re packed with a million clever design ideas and tremendous spontaneity.

I’m afraid this is one book that I can’t afford a clean first edition copy of. The copy I scanned was battered and worn. I’ve done extensive Photoshopping to remove smudges and creases from the many decades of abuse by tiny fingers, and I’ve done my best to maintain the relative scale and basic compositions of the page spreads. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I do.

Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose

One last image (racially insensitive)

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Illustration: Arthur Rackham’s Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Arthur Rackham

Arthur RackhamArthur RackhamArthur Rackham is probably the single most influential children’s book illustrator. His delicate watercolors define the image of fairy tales in many people’s minds.

If you aren’t familiar with his work, see Bud Plant’s great capsule biography.

These scans are from a rare first edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales from 1909. This beautiful book is jam packed with fabulous color plates and ink sketches.

Rackham’s style merges an organic line and earthy color palette with fantastic imagery. He often slipped faces into trees and clouds, adding an extra layer of wonder to his images. His pastoral subjects often seem to be nostalgic for an earlier time, perfect for bringing fairy tales to life.

Arthur RackhamArthur RackhamWalt Disney admired Rackham’s watercolor and pen & ink style, and instructed Gustaf Tenggren to work with Claude Coates and Sam Armstrong to adapt it for use in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

In animation backgrounds however, the sinewy Rackham line was overly busy, distracting from the characters; so Tenggren evolved towards the more dimensional painting style in Pinocchio, which set the standard for Disney cartoons throughout the 1940s.

At Animation Resources one of our projects is to document the images that acted as inspiration to the artists who created the first animated features. No artist fits that bill better than Arthur Rackham. We’re very fortunate to be able to bring the illustrations from this great book to you. I hope you enjoy them.

Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham

If you like what you see, please share it with your friends by linking to this page from your blog or webpage.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Illustration: John Bauer’s Bland Tomtar Och Troll

John Bauer

Like many of the artists we feature here on this blog, John Bauer is a name that not many people know. His career was relatively short, but his influence was far reaching.

John BauerJohn BauerBorn in 1882 in Sweden, Bauer studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts. In 1904, he illustrated his first book, Lappland, but in 1907 he began work on a series of Christmas annuals that would make him famous. Bland Tomtar Och Troll (Among Gnomes and Trolls) is a Swedish tradition, beginning in 1907 and continuing to this very day. I’m afraid I don’t speak Swedish, so I can’t speak for the folk tales Bauer is illustrating, but the illustrations are stunning.

Bauer had a way with trolls… they are grotesque, yet appealing. The simple, yet elegant compositions conveyed the essence of the image clearly with a sense of humor that both children and adults could understand. His style influenced generations of artists from Gustaf Tenggren (who took over the Bland Tomtar Och Troll series after Bauer’s death in a shipwreck in 1918), Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac and Kay Nielsen to Brian Froud and Jim Henson (The Dark Crystal). This particular edition of Bland Tomtar Och Troll is from 1915, but the images are timeless.

John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer

MORE BY JOHN BAUER
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius

Very little information on Bauer exists outside of his native country of Sweden. There is a museum dedicated to his work in the city where he was born. If you have any information on this great artist, please let us know about it in the comments below.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.