Posts Tagged ‘Artists’

Draw some awesome

By Donovan Bixley

ISBN 9781990003226

Upstart Press

For many years, Donovan Bixley has spent time visiting schools and bookshops, sharing his illustrative talents. I was fortunate enough to see him demonstrate some of his methods in a student workshop some years ago. The students loved following his directions and creating their own works of art. Not everyone can get to his workshops, so it is wonderful to see many of those ideas shared in his latest book.

In Draw some awesome, he shares ideas for drawing and tips on creating your own pictures. He offers warm-up exercises too. He has hints for drawing faces, or animals. He discusses roughs and shading and composition. All these ideas, and many others here, will help you in your drawing.

He writes about perspective and how it is a trick that artists use to create depth and space.

He tells us about his favourite artists and why they inspired him, and uses friendly, chatty language, rather than being all technical. Of course, like all his work, the pages are full of colour.

His style is distinctive and recognisable anywhere. His numerous picture books are bright, bold and full of humour.

Draw some awesome is a book to pick up again and again. Dip into it and try one method, or dip in again and follow another idea.

It is informative, funny, but mostly inspirational. I would love to see Donovan do a companion to this book, perhaps Write some awesome.

A great gift for children who love drawing.

This will be in bookshops in October.

Little Frida : A story of Frida Kahlo

By Anthony Browne

ISBN 9781406381221

Walker Books

Anthony Browne has brought us another stunner of a picture book. His artwork is wonderfully distinctive and his fans are many, including myself. I have admired his work for years and was lucky enough to meet him a number of years ago. I stood in line awestruck as I waited to get my copy of Voices in the Park signed. Even though the queue was long he took the time to draw a quick picture and I still treasure this book very much. So I am delighted to be reading his latest picture book. It has a more creative non-fiction feel to it as the story he tells is based on the real life of artist Frida Kahlo. 

Browne beautifully illustrates Frida’s life as a young girl. He brings the pain of struggling through polio and the consequences of her illness that left her with a limping, thin leg and the cruelty of children who called her “Peg-Leg”. Frida was different, an outsider, often lonely, but her imagination created a new friend. Her new friend and the imaginary world they live in is portrayed beautifully and wistfully by Browne. It is a world of hope and beauty, friendship and dancing. In this new world Frida is finding her strengths and that is painting. Frida is becoming an artist. 

I love how one artist can take the life of another artist and create a beauty on its own. There is at times a sense of surrealism and sophistication about the illustrations, which is Browne’s own trademark but he also incorporates Frida’s own style. Browne uses rich, bold colours and there are, as always, little hidden images, including an old friend from his other books but I will leave that for you to find. I will say though, it made me smile.

The biographical notes about Frida are framed like a work of art itself on the final end page.  Out of pain comes beauty and Browne shows this in his stunning new picture book. It is an essential book for school libraries but also a book that will be special in any home. I love too, the way the book feels, with its embossed frame of little Frida on the cover.  Frida was famous for her self-portraits often adding bits of fantasy to her paintings.  Browne honours Frida with his own sense of fantasy, so do look closely at the cover before you open the pages and enter the world of Frida Kahlo as a young girl.