I’ve talked in an earlier post about my love of Arthur Rackham and how his illustrations were one of my first experiences of storytelling. I’d love to share another one with you. In fact, I might just do a little blummin’ running post about amazing illustrators I love. Yep, I reckon I will. So here’s my next one: Karel Franta. When I was a child I had a HUGE book (I may have just had small hands) called The Book of Goodnight Stories. It was illustrated by Karel Franta and it started off a life long love of the Central / Eastern European visual tradition.
It was packed with very quirky, often very dark little tales and I loved it. The illustrations and the text worked beautifully together.
Exploring it now, his work reminds me of Chagall, often magic realist, sometimes dreamlike. He worked with Czech animator Jiri Trnka who is another firm favourite of mine. It’s a lineage all the way to animator Jan Svankmajer, who I am supporting in his latest project which is crowdsourced. There’s something very special about the Czech tradition. Czech it out. Yes, that is a gag.
I have a problem. It’s picture book based. I tried to stop at one but I couldn’t. Send help.
Yep. I said it. S-E-X. It’s a bit of a rubbish analogy but it illustrates (get it?) my point. Everyone does it differently. I love to see the methods other people use for getting their drawings out. I thought I would briefly share some little pics of me at my desk. I’ve been working on a little something that I will share properly later on. This time, I sketched out a rough and then transferred it on my Wacom into Illustrator so I could mess about a bit and get my colours just right. The finished thing was hand painted in watercolours. Phew! And people think you just do a little doodle right?!
I love drawing faces. Fat, thin, old, young. Faces are aces.
I used to write comedy and the thing I loved most about it was creating a character from nothing. Just the little seedlings of people you’ve met along the way, all fused into new little people you create in your head. It’s the same with illustrating. I get to make new people. People with little imaginary back stories. People with secrets. Lots of little faces with secrets and stories. I love drawing faces. Faces is aces.
Once upon a time there was a girl with straggly brown hair and green eyes that looked tired most of the time. She lived in the deepest, darkest part of the Shire and liked to spend her days dawdling, drawing pictures and writing stories. When she was about 8 years old she found a broken and bruised book in her parent’s book case called ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’. She opened it up and inside there were stories about Giants and Crones, beautiful milk maids and dwarves and ladies of the lake. There were a lot of words but in between were amazing pictures that intrigued and repulsed in equal measures.
I remember being that little girl. Seeing those Arthur Rackham plates in the book and reading these wonderfully creepy stories were my first real interactions with Fairy Tales and they started a life long obsession with the weird and wonderful.
If only life were a fairytale….. where we could try to avoid being cooked alive in house made of sweets or being eaten whole by a ravenous old wolf….if only….