Illustration - Spring 2006 - Issue 7

A cold spring makes most of us yearn to escape to sunnier climes. But if a trip to the tropics isn’t on the agenda, you can always resort to good-old escapism. To get your imagination going, we asked children’s author and illustrator Babette Cole to show us the sketchbook she’s made of her life in the West Indies. Once you’re in the mood for exotic vegetation, brilliant colours and sunshine, we move on to look at the illustrations and dust jackets of John Minton, whose gorgeous illustrations for Treasure Island, shown on this issue’s cover, helped to establish him as one of the post-war era’s most exciting talents. Equally at home in colour and black and white, Minton’s ability to create stunning images, coupled with his self-destructive tendencies and tragically short life, combined to create a myth that has ensured his work continues to attract new collectors and inspire other artists.
One of those who cites Minton as an early inspiration is the multi-talented Rigby Graham. We ask him how Minton and the other Neo-Romantics shaped his early work and find out how mastering many vanishing skills and crafts has helped him to produce his most ambitious work so far. From 20th-century romantics, we turn to the medieval romances of Robin Hood and find out how the men in Lincoln green were brought up to date by the artists behind some of the greatest British comic strips. The stuff of legend and myth then gives way to fables when we ask Helen Ward about her evocative reinterpretation of Aesop’s animal fables. From rural England we travel to Milan to examine a collection of French and Italian livres d’artistes. Then we visit a world of fairy tales when we explore the fantastic and bizarre books of the Parvenu Press, where nothing is exactly as it seems. So sit down with a cup of tea and escape.

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