Thursday, December 18, 2014


I mentioned in my last post that I've been working on adding texture and including some drawing, collage, stamps, or something-or-other to my prints. It's been a process and I think I'm headed somewhere interesting!

There are several picture books that I've loved in the last year or so because the fantastic artwork has elements of what I'm trying to create myself. These artists have really been inspiring me, so I'd like to share them!

The Iridescence of Birds written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Hadley Hooper. First of all, it's a book about Henri Matisse- how cool is that? And the artwork is beautiful. If you are interested in Hadley's work, you should check out this interview at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. 

Hadley makes a lot of relief prints and textures, scans them and assembles everything in photoshop. The linework is grease pencil on butcher paper. That's what she uses for early drawings anyway, and that's what the lines look like in the final art.

I'd rather create the artwork by hand instead of assembling everything in photoshop, but I LOVE the way the prints look with some black accent lines. I think the illustrations have a looseness and detail with the lines added that is pretty hard to achieve with relief prints alone. And her ink textures and decorative relief patterns are nice too. 

These two photos above from the book are Henri's mother painting on plates and young Henri mixing up paint colors.

Here is Bluebird, written and illustrated by Lindsey Yankey,  This is a sweet story about a bluebird hunting for her friend, the wind. Lindsey uses drawing, painting, relief prints, and collage to illustrate this book. She also does a quirky thing that I love and draws a scene right around the edges of the page so that the orientation of the picture changes. 

In Bluebird, Lindsey combines bold relief prints with delicate drawings like the spread with the willow tree above.

I like the way she's used white paint on top of cream paper in many places. And do you see how the bluebird's head is somewhat transparent? I've been experimenting with leaving parts of the art transparent, so I noticed that right away.

There is also a delicate floral pattern on the top left of the bottom photo. Lindsey uses a lot of collage and decorative patterns throughout. All of those are different elements that I love.

I have already done a blog post about Mark Hearld including images from Outside Your Window, written by Nicola Davies. But I love Mark's work and this book in particular, so I had to share it again. Outside Your Window is a big book full of poems and short stories about nature that is divided into seasons. The artwork is a combination of collage, drawing, painting and a little relief printing.

Several different places in the book, Mark uses carved stamps to illustrate flocks of birds, fish, and wheat in a field. The stamps are always combined with collage and paint in a very successful way.

I really like the texture of this winter spread. I'm not certain, but it looks to me like he rolled some thin white ink over the top of printed or collaged trees. It makes the scene look very snowy, doesn't it? It's a beautiful foggy texture. Even though he mostly worked in collage for this book, I can still see the linocut influence. With so many different mediums going on, this book is incredibly rich and interesting.

And I saved my favorite for last. Sleep Like a Tiger written by Mary Logue and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski may be my all-time favorite book. The artwork is beyond beautiful. I'm a huge fan of Pamela Zagarenski! This book is in her usual rich style with lots of texture, paint, collage, patterns, and some stamps. You can see more of the artwork from this book at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. 

The little patterns in the girl's quilt are stamps. Pamela uses them throughout the book on the girl's quilt as it transforms visually into a nest, a cozy barn, a snuggly bear, and around the sleeping girl and tiger. The way she does this is very subtle but it nicely ties the story together.

This is the back endpaper. The moon has a layered collage of the poem The Tyger by William Blake. I love the way that it looks and that it is relevant to the story and not just a random snip of newspaper. I also like the very dark houses in the background- perfect for a night scene.

Pamela's quirky use of objects and animals is really wonderful to me. What is that little teapot doing on the train above for example?

The details and well as the overall layouts in this book are masterful in my opinion. Go and get one if you haven't already!

I'm lucky that my daughter also likes Sleep Like a Tiger! Here she is showing me where the stars are.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely to see which books you've loved this year. Mark Hearld is so brilliant.