I stopped looking at books a little while ago in order not to be influenced by other artists’ styles. Also I had failed to find picture books that told the same story from two points of view…this was until a few friends mentioned some books they had come across. So against my better judgement I decided to have a look. Everything has been done before but it always comes down to how.
The first book tells two different stories during the day and at night. Toddlers are the target audience. The colours are vivid, the illustrations appealing to a young child who will have great fun at discovering the world around him.
The resolutions, is, however, somewhat disappointing. There was no effort to make it easily readable from both sides: You have to flip the book over to read the text.
The second book is Tunnel and Le Tunnel by Brian Wildsmith.
The tunnel tells the story from Marcus’ point of view and Le Tunnel from Pierre’s in french bien sur! Both moles want to meet up and dig a tunnel under the channel. The book is innovative and packed with paper engineering. The hole gets bigger as they dig. There are wheels you can turn to see what the moles can see until Pierre sees Marcus and vice versa.
Original but the artwork looks busy and cluttered and the layout remains the same throughout . The image at the top with the chunky text sitting below
Wildsmith is a talented artist but this is not my favourite book. I love the concept though.
The last book I came across is probably the most different one. It reads from both sides and also converges in the middle However the english side reads from left to right and the japanese one from right to left. I knew Eric Carle and admire his colourful tissue paper collage and this book does not disappoint.I particularly enjoyed the resolution with the paper unfolding in the middle spread. I initially thought of doing this for Max and Misty but I had the problem that the text would have been upside down and I really didn’t want the hassle of having to twist the book around to read the ending. Here, in where are you going, because english and japanese read differently on the page, the problem is solved. I loved this book.
Three books with the same concept. Three different resolutions. Mine is also different. I introduced paper engineering in the form of a pop up. It hasn’t been plain sailing and at times, I wished I hadn’t thought of that. My pop up is far from perfect but it works. I am proud to have achieved this without prior knowledge. The workshop I attended earlier with Andy Singleton and Richard Sweeney gave me the confidence to attempt something new. I am glad I did. I also made the decision to have swirly text to emulate dynamism and happiness. One has still have to twist the book round but it is fun. (I hope!)
As the project is ticking along, I can’t help thinking about the exhibition and the potential display of my book. As my tutors have suggested there are many ways of thinking about a book, the other avenue is book art .
Traditionally books sit on shelves and are only taken out when we want to read them. They can be more than this. Children’s bookshelves are packed with novelty books filled with pop ups, flaps, folded double pages, cut outs…
This led me to experiment with the possibilities that paper offers as a medium. Yesterday, I was very fortunate to go to a workshop with Andy Singleton and Richard Sweeney at the Victor Felix Gallery in London. It was an exciting day full of cutting and folding.
Andy and Richard demonstrating techniques
Andy’s work: explores the natural and manmade world through intricate paper cuttings, paper sculpture and hand drawn illustrations. Earlier this year, Andy had a paper installation at the Victoria Revealed exhibition at Kensington Palace. His work was displayed in the cabinet with Queen Victoria’s original wedding dress!
And yesterday we were lucky to see some of his smaller scale work that enabled us to admire the intricacy ofAndy’s paper cutting:
Cut outs could become a subproject and be part of the display. In my case, I would cut a dog and a cat. I could also shorten the story or create a parallel narrative as if the two characters of my picture books were intended for a series. Otherwise, I could maybe create separate panels that could be displayed on the wall. The possibilities seem endless but time will dictate was is realistic or not…
We started the workshop with cutting techniques.
Cutting a template:
Cutting a continuous line drawing:
Cutting blind i.e. creating a picture as one goes along – here I decided on a tree.
For it to be more successful, I would need to use a reference for the bark and the foliage.
In the afternoon, we moved on to paper folding.
Richard’s work: concentrates on the manipulation of paper to create sculptures in their own right. He combines disciplines such as 3D design, drawing, and craft. Whilst he uses computer aided design too, he still maintains a hand on approach and maximises the properties of paper.
It was then up to us to experiment with basic techniques. We started with different types of pleats: diamond pleats and fan pleats
Paper folded at 45 degree angle to create a change of direction of folds
We moved on to scoring the paper with a biro or the xacto blade itself and combine with with the folds described above:
Finally, we cut triangle modules that can be combined with the pleats to make more complex structures
….. such as Richard’s magnificent work. (If only!)
It was a wonderful experience. I was not aware that such intricate and gigantic sculptures could be achieved with paper and paper only.
The quality of the paper is key. To assemble Richard uses watercolour paper that he sprays and pegs together until it is dry.
Many hours of diligent practice would be necessary to achieve only the smallest of their work. Maybe knowledge in physics and aerodynamics? Who knows?
Anyhow, for the final project, I plan to incorporate some of the cut outs for a mini book and possibly explore the possibilities of pop ups.