The world of children’s literature is a vital and amazing one, and one that often uses wonderful illustrations. There’s something very special about any beautifully illustrated book. The simplest picture books can speak volumes, to young and old alike, in a way that simply text cannot. Illustrated/picture books can capture the layers of a story/text.
I loved my picture books when I was young and, now that I am older, I look at picture books with a more discerning eye. What I see still pleases my senses, my imagination and I love sharing them with my 4 year old niece. Over the years I have collected picture books that I liked. For a while I obtained quite a few that used reproductions of Arthur Rackham drawings. He was one of my early favourites. My niece is just beginning her journey and loves nothing more than sitting next to you and “reading”. In fact I have never come across a young person who did not enjoy the closeness that comes from examining a picture book. Working in a secondary school, I notice many times that the illustrated book gets its fair share of use. It can be in the form of a graphic novel, a beautifully photographed non-fiction work, an optical illusions book, Where’s Wally or an imaginatively drawn fantasy.
Illustrated books work marvelously well with young people. For children, who do not relate well to abstract things, thoughts and people, they can develop these skills by using/reading illustrated (picture) books to begin their learning. They work as visual aids for the eye and mind. Younger children need the visual and concrete to examine, study, and understand the abstract. Even as we grow older, we are still drawn to images often using both text and illustrations together, as visual aids for the eye and mind, to explain something. We are visual beings and are constantly deciphering visual signs, symbols and images, without even thinking about it. When something catches our attention because of its beauty, our particular interest for whatever reason, we are stopped in our tracks.
So I have been looking for examples of illustration (with some commentary if possible) to explain to students about how to use images to create a feeling/atmosphere. This is all part of gathering a range of resources for future work with storyboards for digital storytelling.
There is a new series of illustrated books. Walker Illustrated Classics is a series that began with Wind in the Willows, illustrated by Inga Moore. They are planning 12 in all, with a new title published each month throughout 2009. Walker seek to ” retain the high quality design and production values of the original hardbacks, but in a stylish, collectable new format with a specially designed logo.”
The Guardian offers a selection of illustrations, from 6 titles, in a gallery format. There is a commentary, on each of the images, from the illustrators responsible. The commentary offers a fascinating insight to the thoughts of each of the illustrators. It is always useful for students to read how professionals choose particular images or how they attempt to portray ideas and feelings in their illustrations.
The titles include:
Another interesting post about book illustration was in Jrpoulter’s Weblog on March 18th. Angel Dominguez – Spain’s leading illustrator in the tradition of the Golden Age was an interview with the illustrator and also contained images that he created. It is another interesting insight into the world of an illustrator.
Filed under: images, Library2.0, literature, Reading Tagged: | Children's picture books, fantasy, illustrated books, illustration, imagery, inspiration, narrative verse, picture books, story books, verse