There is a strong link between women, girls and cats. In fiction, for instance, women are frequently described as cats (and also as birds).
Then there’s the witch link between women and cats, who are thought to be witches’ familiars. During the witch craze, a small proportion of men were also tried for witchcraft, but the modern witch archetype is an old woman who sometimes transmogrifies into a beautiful young woman in order to trick men or to test them.
Then there’s the modern dismissive archetype of the ‘crazy cat lady’, for which there is no male counterpart.
Below are some artworks celebrating the relationship between women, girls and their cats.
Before the concept for ‘blue’ existed, Homer wrote famously in The Odyssey of the “wine-dark sea.” Sure, it might’ve looked purple even to a contemporary audience, but we know from other writings around the world that the concept of ‘blue’ was late to enter human consciousness. “The Odyssey” suggests that blue was included the concept of purple.Continue reading “The Colour Purple Symbolism”
When illustrators talk about creating artwork for children, they sometimes talk about including something in each work which will encourage child readers to pick up a pencil or brush and give art a go themselves. This seems especially important for artists working with a realistic style. Sometimes (not always) you’ll find something on a page which you think you could probably have a crack at yourself.
Though I haven’t heard Shaun Tan say this exact thing, the collage effects he uses in The Lost Thing have this effect on the reader.
For other artists, their entire page gives the impression it has been done by a naive artist. These are clearly very good at drawing young readers in. I’d like to underscore the point that although these pieces look easy to do, a lot of design consideration, colour science and years of practice has gone into them.
In some cases, picture book illustrators have two (or more) distinct styles, and sometimes they use both for children’s stories. One example is Adrienne Adams. First, a sophisticated illustration for a picture book based on Wind in the Willows.
But for the witch books, Adams utillised a deliberately naive style, similar to that of John Burningham. Both styles still look like they’ve been done by the same person.
Another children’s book illustrator with two very different styles is Paul O. Zelinsky. He can work like an old master or more like a comic book artist for young children.
To create a work which looks easy is a skill in its own right.
Zbigniew Rychlicki (1922-1989) was a Polish graphic artist, and illustrator of children’s books. He received the Hans Christian Andersen Awards Prize given by the Jury of the International Board on Books for Young People for outstanding artistic achievement.
Danièle Bour (born 1939) is a French illustrator, best known for of the Petit Ours Brun series for young readers. She has been illustrating since 1972.
Elżbieta Wasiuczyńska is a Polish illustrator born 1955.Continue reading “Naive Illustration In Picture Books”
The fishbowl is a common symbol of surveillance, as is a glass house. For house cats, the fish bowl is a miniature version of the pond or lake — domestic version.
Header painting: George Dunlop Leslie – The Goldfish Seller
The header illustration is a poster from World War 2.
Mole reached down a lantern from a nail on the wall and lit it, and the Rat, looking round him, saw that they were in a sort of fore-court. A garden-seat stood on one side of the door, and on the other a roller; for the Mole, who was a tidy animal when at home, could not stand having hiw ground kicked up by other animals into little runs that ended in earth heaps. On the walls hung wire baskets with ferns in them, alternating with brackets carrying plaster statuary — Garibaldi, and the infant Samuel and Queen Victoria, and other heroes of modern Italy. Down one side of the forecourt ran a skittle-alley, with benches along it and little wooden tables marked with rings that hinted at beer-mugs. In the middle was a small round pond containing goldfish and surrounded by a cockle-shell border. Out of the centre of the pond rose a fanciful erection clothed in more cockle-shells and topped by a large silvered glass ball that reflected everything all wrong and had a very pleasing effect.The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. A description of Mole’s underground home. He returns after a long absence, and after a near death experience in the Wild Wood.
These illustrations are views of the outside of commuter stations — train stations, lorry transfer stations. (I’m not including here illustrations of the insides of commuter stations.)