Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rosemary Hetherington Wins Children's Books Ireland Award

I wanted to mark the fact that this year's Children's Books Ireland Award went to my old friend Rosemary Hetherington, children's librarian in Dublin City Council’s library service, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the world of children’s books.

“Within the libraries, in classrooms and alongside parents and teachers she has worked tirelessly to promote children's books over the years - and continues to do so. It is precisely this kind of dedication - which can be a hidden feature of the work that goes on day after day - to ensure that as many children as possible encounter and come into contact with books that this award seeks to recognise” commented Jane O’Hanlon, Chair of CBI board.

I would like to add my sincere congratulations to Rosemary, who was delighted, I am very pleased to say, with the original illustration of mine from A Christmas Carol that CBI generously presented to her.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Book based on the Nutcracker Exhibition at W5

Those lovely people at W5 in Belfast are putting together a book based on the Nutcracker exhibition that I designed last year. We always talked about a book of the show as a possibility, but now it is going to happen, it is a somewhat surprising bonus.
The Nutcracker show will be on again this year and the book will be sold by W5 but, I'm afraid, I don't think it's going to be widely available beyond Northern Ireland, well not this year at least.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"The Nightingale and the Rose"

Here's another multiplane picture from college days.
It illustrates the climactic scene from Oscar Wilde's fairy tale, "The Nightingale and the Rose", and below is the illustration I did for the same scene in "Oscar Wilde: Stories for Children" which I illustrated about five years after leaving college.
It is interesting to compare the two pieces. I think it was a good move for me to ditch the experimental medium. Funnily enough though, I am looking into doing a 3d illustration with an Irish company that has developed amazing 3d print technology.

Again, I have to say that, much as I love Oscar Wilde, the subject of a little bird sacrificing itself on a rose thorn is something I would think twice about presenting to my own kids.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Multiplane Snoopy Picture

Whilst I'm still on my nostalgia trip, here is a photo from a project I did when I was at Brighton College of Art.
I was fascinated with the art of Disney movies, and particularly with the Multiplane camera that gave movies like Snow White and Pinnochio a stunning sense of depth.
I created my own multiplane set-up by painting the central action on an acetate cel, and the foreground and background elements on watercolour paper. Then I raised the various planes a few inches away from each other by jamming them in between piles of books on my desk. Lastly I lit the scene in different ways using anglepoise lamps, and took lots of photographs.
I'll try to find a coloured version and I'll post that too.

There's a bit of a creepy flavour to some of my work from those days. I don't know what was going on in my head.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Model-Making at Art College

I used to love sculpting little figures, and, in this case, I coloured and dressed the figure, and set it in a little set that I had made.
I think I did this when I was doing a Foundation course at Jordanstown in Northern Ireland, and it shows one of the diverse directions that my career might have gone in if things had panned out differently.

Monday, August 10, 2009

An Unused Decoration from “East o' The Sun, West o' The Moon”

On my recent attic rummaging I found several interesting items.
Here's a little crest that I did for “East o' The Sun, West o' The Moon”.
I remember I had an idea that I wanted the book to be lavishly decorated in the style of Gennady Spirin. However, when I tried to emulate his beautiful design elements, I found I just didn't have his skill, nor the application to do it anything like as well as I wanted to.
Luckily, the designers at Walker books steered me to work to my own strengths, such as characterization, and story-telling in my illustrations.
I'm glad this little fragment didn't make it into the finished book, but it's enlightening for me now to look back on the creative process, where what gets left out is sometimes as important as what is included.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Another Painting from my School Days

Another rummage in an attic turned up a few old student pictures that I had all but forgotten about.
Here is a watercolour I did at school of a good friend of mine called Dermot Morrisey. It was a very early effort using photographic reference.
Dermot was a tremendous guitarist and a very funny guy. Somehow he ended up in a career in law enforcement.