So, I made a visit to a rather fabulous group of young people from the inspiring Blanche Nevile school for deaf children last year after a class teacher, Lucy Christian, contacted me to enquire about me and my work and whether I would be interested in going in to offer some workshops and engagement. They were working towards an illustration project for Warhorse / WW1, using book art as inspiration. Unfortunately, I was just too snowed under with other commitments to be able to fulfil this, but I was able to pop in for an hour, to share my work, have a chat and drink tea (always a useful bargaining tool!).
It was for me a fabulous way to spend an hour. The young people Sama, Juelle, Xamse, Mark and Shihab were so engaged, motivated, sensitive and actually so wonderfully excited about the possibilities of book art. I was so inspired by each and every one of them I met. All the engagement was so individual, some were more intrigued about the practicalities of book page manipulation some more focussed on the ideas behind the work. One particular young man absolutely blew me away. He seemed interested in a particular work, a rather personal work that would perhaps be difficult to explain in that setting. I needn’t have worried… the delight was that he told me how it made him feel, and what it meant to him. What a joy, and so interesting that it seemed to impact him in a similar way to where my expression had come from.
So. I have been thrilled to continue to stay in contact with Lucy and through her, the young people I met. In particular, I have been really interested in how they got on with the project and how my visit may have influenced their illustrations.
You can probably guess how thrilled I was to receive these images of their final work, and also to note that they had also been working with a graphic designer, namely Matthew Jones.
So here is their work. I think it is all so wonderfully considered and uniquely executed.
I really enjoy Xamse’s use of collage paper on book text as an illustrative technique for the poppies. I particularly like the detail of the cannon wheels that have been very carefully and precisely cut away from the book page. Works well as almost a mirrored front and back cover.
I love this work by Shihab. What I particularly enjoy is seeing the original against the final work and seeing the process clearly. In the illustration the work is much more three-dimensional with an illustrated bit or stirrup used as a framing device. I am particularly attracted to the three-dimensional poppies that are so delicately suspended. In the final poster, the decision was clearly made to adopt a more hand drawn style, replicating the framing device and also extending to a drawn horse (not an easy animal to draw).
Sama really became interested in the practical application of paper, and was very keen to explore while I was there, different ways to manipulate paper. My goodness, she certainly got the hang of it. Clearly adopting a three-dimensional approach, utilising rolling techniques, this design is beautiful, and I particularly enjoy the suggested horse outline, defined by the book page curls. The final poster, though loosing a little of the richness of the original illustration due to the black and white approach, combines a background that brings energy and drama as well as working well across the colour choice of the poster as a whole.
I really enjoy the cleanness of Mark’s approach as well as the graphic illustration of the horse (quite beautifully executed), utilising a book page as the medium. The final poster really seems to come alive with what appears to be a suggestion of burning around the edge.
And last but not least, this work from Juelle. I really enjoy the use of three-dimensional and two-dimensional approaches from Juelle, exploring what paper can do. Particularly impressed with the kusudama flowers, not an easy thing to create. I really enjoy the contrast of those against the poppies and the book page cut barbed wire.
Hurrah for all teachers like Lucy Christian, and I have been most fortunate of meeting a fair few, who understand the importance of thinking outside the box and offering inspiring encounters. It is just as inspiring for me too… thank you Sama, Juelle, Xamse, Mark and Shihab for that gift!