Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Casting Call, Part 3

More from my sketchbooks.  This is another one of the recurring characters that's been popping up in the pages for some time:  a lost bird, named Omelette.  

He first showed up, curiously enough, when I found myself drawing eggs all the time — mysteriously large eggs.

The more I draw him, the more I find out what he's like — but one thing's for sure:  he's not like the other birds.  He always wants to do everything his own way.  Eggsasperating, sometimes...

Related: here, here, and here.... enjoy!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Places to go

A few places to go, if time is hanging heavy on your hands:

Getting back to the Phantom Skill: rediscovering the lost skill and singular pleasure of drawing by James McMullan. The first article in the weekly "LINE BY LINE" column in the New York Times, by a great working illustrator and artist.

Anja Mulder's beautiful corner of the internet.

Five Books —Every day, an eminent writer, thinker, academic picks five books from their own field of expertise. You too can be an expert! The ones that caught my eye: Michael Morpurgo (former chidren's laureate) on books for children; Richard Walters on screenwriting (he was my professor once upon a time!); Alain de Botton on Illuminating Essays; Calvin Trillin on memoirs; Mary Beard on ancient history in modern life. And much much more...

Croquis Parisens — a book of spare and elegant line drawings of Paris by Lionel Koechlin. Alain Beaulet, the editeur, offers many other interesting books and prints, too.

The Browser — I just discovered it: "writing worth reading".

But really, it's time to go and draw...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mogu Takahashi at L'Articho

I just got word of another illustrator's art opening coming to town soon*— to L'Articho (in Paris), starting 2 October 2010.
Mogu Takahashi is a wonderful Japanese illustrator who creates works (illustrations, dolls, zines —entre autres) in a fresh and spontaneous way. I am quite smitten with her playfulness! As for L'Articho, it is a collective of illustrators of all stripes who come together to organize events, exhibits, parties, and the like. Among its members are Chamo (here too) and Yassine, who you may already know... More on Mogu here, here, and here. To attend: L'Articho, 28 rue des 3 Bornes, 75011 Paris Vernissage: Saturday 2 October 2010, 2:00 to 10:00 PM and Sunday 3 October 2010, 2:00 to 10:00 PM.
*For those of you who can't make it to Paris, Mogu will also be showing in Barcelona, from October 8 to 23 at Dudua. Don't say I didn't warn you!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My favourite season

Here's an editorial illustration* in suitably autumnal colours to ring in the first day of fall, my favourite season.

*Topic: "Opening up: do men and women speak the same language?"
(Client: Microsoft)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Louise Heugel at La Maison des Contes

A few days ago, I saw the illustrations of Louise Heugel at La Maison des Contes et des Histoires, which currently has an exhibit featuring illustrated books on the theme of ancient Egypt. Louise did illustrations for Le Papyrus Sacre (by Aude Gros de Beler, published by Actes Sud Junior), which explores the secrets of hieroglyphs.

Louise studied at Penninghen (the highly reputed Parisian art college), and now lives and works in Barcelona. I love her approach to image-making, involving drawing, block-printing and layering with torn paper, vellum and ephemera.

The linoleum block prints are shown in workshops at the Maison des Contes. Louise also creates and teaches regular workshops for the Revue Dada, the wonderful art magazine for kids (and art teachers!).

I love these illustrations from Les Noces de Messire Chat

As for La Maison des Contes et des Histoires, it is a small gallery specializing in art for children's books. Located in the Marais district of Paris on 7 rue Pecquay (in the back streets behind the Centre Pompidou), it is well worth a visit for anyone with an interest in livres jeunesse.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nocturne Croco

I have been feeling the change of seasons lately — the nights are getting longer and colder. But this crocodile is still frisky when it gets dark out. Either that or he's got a touch of insomnia!

Stay warm, out there...

PS. To see more of these charming creatures, check out the gallery "Crocodiles make great pets".

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Image by Philip Giordano

I just heard of Filustra, an international illustration fair to be held in Guadalajara this coming November.

Image by Javier Zabala

Among the participants are: Beatrice Alemagna, Javier Zabala, Arnal Ballester, Diego Bianchi, Philip Giordano, Miguel Tanco, Eliana Pasaran, Javier Recio, Kitty Crowther and Gabriel Pacheco... all of them stellar, exceptional talents!

I believe it is under the auspices of the Book Fair of Guadalajara (FIL: Forio Internacionál del Libro de Guadalajara), the largest global market for Spanish language publications.

Image by Gabriel Pacheco

I look forward to finding out what transpires at Filustra!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bumping into Serge Bloch

I was on my way back from the swimming pool (26 laps today, yay me!) when I noticed a gallery on rue Dante. Galerie des Arts Graphiques, specializing in illustration, graphic design and bande dessinée, just put a new show up. Serge Bloch, one of my heroes!

Left: "C'était Fatal"
Right: "Un Bon Gars"

He has a beautiful bold line and an inspired way with ephemera. Wooden blocks, old envelopes, wine labels, postage stamps... it's all grist to his mill.

"Général Timbré"

If I had 600 euros burning a hole in my pocket, I'd certainly be tempted by this one!

As for the gallery, they've got an interesting fall season lined up including Loustal and Jean Jullien. So I shall certainly be returning — stay tuned!

PS. I was told by the woman running the gallery that La Poste (the French mail service) would be putting out a set of postage stamps designed by Serge Bloch within the next few months. You heard it here first!

Monday, September 6, 2010

On the rue des Écoles

And speaking of Michel de Montaigne...

This statue of him is near where I live, and the inscription below it reads:

"Paris a mon coeur des mon enfance. Je ne suis français que par cette grande cité — grande surtout et incomparable en varieté, la gloire de France et l'un des plus nobles ornaments du monde."*

This quote has always resonated with me — like Paris was saying a welcome to newcomers like myself! I have been living here for 18 years (already!) and it still makes me smile every time, to bump into this man, these words...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The cure for melancholy

"If you are idle, be not solitary;
if you are solitary, be not idle."

Samuel Johnson said that, putting it forward as a cure for melancholy. He was such a prolific writer of letters and essays and bons mots that some think of him as the very first blogger ever! But of course, this distinction could just as easily go to other writers — to the likes of Michel de Montaigne, Samuel Pepys, writers of Japanese "Pillow Books", and (my personal favourite) E.B. White... especially his letters.

How about you? Do you have a favourite proto-blogger?