Saturday, 14 March 2015

Pictures Mean Business - My Favourite MG Illustrations



© Sarah McIntyre

The above image is designed by the fabulous Sarah McIntyre to promote her brilliant Pictures Mean Business hashtag, aiming to boost awareness of illustrators and make sure they get credit for their work. More details of the superb campaign here.

I think it's a wonderful campaign - illustration adds so much to so many books - and would strongly encourage people to get involved (there are some great suggestions at that link!) Along with Debbie from Snuggling on the Sofa, we're trying to update our spreadsheet to make sure we're listing cover designers and illustrators for all of the 2015 releases we're keeping track of - if you know of any we're missing, drop us a tweet on @yayeahyeah or @snugglingonthesofa.

One of my own issues when reviewing is I struggle with describing art, a lot of the time. I'm reasonably okay at reviewing people's writing (hopefully!), but feel somehow much less qualified to criticise pictures. I thought I'd jump into the deep end and try and describe what I particularly like about some of my favourite recent illustrations. (For others who have the same problem, I highly recommend this brilliant A-Z of picture book terminology from LH Johnson!)

A big thank you to Andersen Press, Barrington Stoke, Bloomsbury, Orion Children's Books, and Simon & Schuster for the permission to use these pictures and for providing the files.

© Kate Grove from Not As We Know It - Andersen Press

Kate Grove has illustrated both the Tom Avery books I've read, My Brother's Shadow and Not As We Know It. (She also designed the GORGEOUS cover for We Are All Made Of Molecules by Susin Nielsen, a massive favourite of mine!) I love the way her landscape here captures the wonderful setting conjured up by Tom Avery.
© Vladimir Stankovic from The Wickford Doom - Barrington Stoke

I've recently reviewed The Wickford Doom for The Bookbag. Author Chris Priestley is a massively atmospheric writer and Vladimir Stankovic's chapter headings perfectly bring the chilling quality of the book to life - I love the shading for this train. (Am I reading too much into this, or does the front wheel of that train look almost like a monstrous mouth, with an eye above?)

© Ian Schoenherr from The Apothecary - Andersen Press
Maile Meloy's The Apothecary is one from a few years ago that I'm amazed doesn't seem to be better known. It's a staggeringly exciting Cold War era fantasy - I love Meloy's writing, but it was Ian Schoenherr's pictures that got me interested at first after flicking through. The attention to detail in the above one is stunning!

© Becka Moor from Violet and the Hidden Treasure - Simon & Schuster
I'm a huge fan of Becka Moor's, loving her work with Clementine Beauvais on the Sesame Seade trilogy. If anything her illustrations for Harriet Whitehorn's Violet books are even better - her cartoons add so much to the characters and this double-page spread introducing the cast of the newest book is wonderful. I love limited use of colours, as well - the purple and grey here stands out to me more than a full palette would.

© Emily Gravett 2014 from The Imaginary - Bloomsbury Children's
Speaking of limited use of colour, some of The Imaginary's illustrations are black and white while others have some bits of colour. The above is my absolute favourite (it has a pink dinosaur, what more can you want?) - I adore the contrast between the black and white shelves and librarian and the colour of the other characters. AF Harrold, Emily Gravett and Bloomsbury have created a book which is a perfect present here!

© Laura Ellen Anderson 2015 - Witch Wars by Bloomsbury Children's
Again from Bloomsbury, Sibéal Pounder's writing in Witch Wars is gorgeously illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson, who brings the characters to life just as you'd imagine them to be. (Particularly in the above pictures; I love Tiga's startled expression!) For more about the illustration process for the book, I talked to the illustrator on YA Yeah Yeah

© Chris Riddell 2014 from The Sleeper and the Spindle - Bloomsbury Children's
There's a reason Chris Riddell is one of the best-known children's illustrators around today - he's extraordinarily talented! I love these dwarves in his book with Neil Gaiman, The Sleeper and the Spindle. Their facial expressions are perfect!

© Todd Harris from The Map To Everywhere - Orion Children's Books
The Map To Everywhere is one I fell in love with from a proof, but fell in love with even harder when I read a fully-illustrated version. Todd Harris captures the speed of the main character perfectly in the above illustration!


Who are some of your favourite illustrators? What do you think of the #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign? Share your thoughts in the comments!



1 comment:

  1. What a brilliant idea for a blog post. My favourite MG illustrators are The Boy Fitz Hammond (for the covers of Exploding Loo and Exploding Brains and for his cracking illustration of a 'neanderthug-slash-cockroach'), David Tazzyman (especially for Mr Gum and the Stinkbomb & Ketchup Face badgers) and Sarah McIntyre (for Cakes in Space and I-know-it's-not-MG-but her beautiful jesuischarlie cartoon.
    Coincidentally they are also seem to be three of the nicest and funniest people in the world of books. Yay, illustrators!

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