Illustration - Winter 2005 - Issue 6

In this issue we learn from the work of a master when we look at the painstaking preliminary sketches of Beatrix Potter and find out how they informed her books and her humour (page 12). But we also find that traditional skills are alive and well in the work of author and illustrator Lauren Child, who, while using an excitingly broad variety of media in her books, warns that computers should never be used to replace vital techniques (page 22). We see that the old fairy tales still compete with the thrills of videos and computer games when we look at the responses of six-year-old children to modern versions of Hansel and Gretel (page 18). They prove that we are still producing illustrations for the oldest stories that are as capable of inspiring fear, horror and laughter as those of previous generations. 

Printing has always been an innovative industry. Johannes Gutenberg started the debate about how traditional skills should co-exist with new technology when he set up his workshop in Mainz in the 1450s (page 46). Frederick Catherwood used printing developments 400 years later to reproduce his meticulous drawings of Mayan lost cities (page 32) and François-Louis Schmied demonstrated the way in which traditional printing techniques could be used to create strikingly modern designs in his lavish Art Deco publications (page 28). The debate still rages on today, with current concerns focusing on the digitisation of books, which is leading to legal cases over copyright and questions about the role of libraries

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