from the illustrator’s point of view…



This week I’ll be be posting about the creative chemistry of this most special relationship in children’s books, and what it means to me.
Do have a read of this hugely interesting piece in The Bookseller with contributions by Ted Dewan and Sarah McIntyre among others, lamenting the second billing – or no billing at all – of the illustrator in favour of the writer, which seems so odd in this very visual medium. I have only worked with the most generous and supportive of authors who go to great lengths to make sure I feel valued (in fact I can be rather demanding, alas) so I’m happy to say I don’t have first hand experience.
However I have certainly seen it elsewhere.

But where would Milne be without Shepard? The artist breathed extraordinary life into these characters.
You might notice there are plenty of back views – sublimely expressive in just a few deft lines.




And as for Paddington (I do bang on about this, sorry) – it was the largely overlooked  Peggy Fortnum who gave us this immortal creation in visual form…


peggy-fortnum-paddington        paddington-bear-peggy-fortnum1



A conversation on twitter meandered – as it does – and considered the idea of fourth wall in picture books, the playful interaction between words and pictures leading to stepping out of the conventions of the story and page.
Philip Ardagh reminded us that in the Eddie Dickens trilogy he names his illustrator David Roberts in the text, commenting on his pictures, and at one point says they’re run out of money so he draws the illustration himself!

Milne and Shepherd, Ardagh and Roberts, Dahl and Blake, Ahlberg and Ahlberg – who are your classic or contemporary dream team?