Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One more thing...

To finish off these past few posts on Montreuil, I want to give a special mention to my friend Constanze von Kitzing, who was my guest during the Salon... her first time here, but not her last!

Constanze is a children's book illustrator and author from Germany who has not only published several books with a variety of publishers in Europe, but has also been awarded, both at the Bologna Book Fair (where she was a selected illustrator in 2010) and at the CJ Picture Book festival of South Korea.

Here she is at a signing at Montreuil, for La Joie de Lire, the wonderful Swiss maison d'édition who have published many of her books, including her series on the little lion cub:  Cache-cache, C'est moi le meilleur, and Dormez-vous. (Inside images here, here and here ... do look!)

(She signed my copies too — yay!)

(Even Pomelo had his portrait done! Very happy he is with it, too...)

Her most recent picture book— Pingouin glacé (also published by La Joie de Lire)— came out just last month.  It's all about a little penguin who feels a bit chilly and goes off in search of warmth (in all its varieties) — sympathique and clever!

Thanks for everything,  Constanze.  See you soon — a presto!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Salon du Livre, Montreuil — pt. 3

(A still image from "O'Moro", by Eva Offredo and Christophe Calissoni)

In this most recent Salon, a few new features were introduced.  These innovations included the Librairie EUropa (featuring books, authors and illustrators from further afield in the European Union... Eastern Europe's contributions were especially wonderful!) and the AniMix.

The AniMix was a film festival within the Salon — a first in its 26-year history!  Around 35 films were screened: all animated, there were shorts, pilots and feature-length previews.  They all had in common some connection to children's books — either adaptations based on an existing children's book, or originals created by the illustrators themselves.  These included: Kitty Crowther ("Le Banc")Anne Herbauts ("Jean perdu dans ses pensées"),  Albertine ("La génie de la boîte de raviolis")Samuel Ribeyron ("Beau Voyage"),  Eva Offredo ("O'Moro"),  Jean-François Martin ("L'Inventeur") and Michèle Lemieux ("Nuit d'Orage").

For me, a few of the memorable and enjoyable films were these:

"O'Moro", by Eva Offredo and Christophe Calissoni

"Beau Voyage", by Samuel Ribeyron

"La Génie de la boîte de raviolis", by Albertine.

"Nuit d'Orage" (also known as Stormy Night), by Michèle Lemieux.  Superlative!

For the full list of films screened at the Salon, see here.

To view some of the films mentioned, here are links to video clips:


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Salon du Livre, Montreuil — pt. 2

With so many fantastic and inventive books on display at the Salon, it was hard to choose just a few to show you.  Here are some books — and the illustrators who created them— that stand out in my memory.  It was great to have a chance to meet and chat and peruse!!

L'Ange des Chaussures (Editions Notari, 2009) by Giovanni Zoboli, art by Joanna Concejo.  

Joanna Concejo's work is beautiful, with images in graphite and gouache that are poetic, delicate and startling.  She has illustrated books for many publishing houses all over Europe, such as Topipittori (Italy), Editions Notari (Switzerland), OQO (Spain), Rouergue (France).  I discovered her work a few years ago when I got Grand et Petit (published by Atelier du Poisson Soluble, 2008) — a book about two brothers, one tiny and the other gigantic, which is a great favourite of mine.

Her latest book is Les Cygnes Sauvages (aka The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen)— published in Italian by Topipittori and in French by Notari....
...looks intriguing!

Next up is Clotilde Perrin, whose work I have long admired....
 Le Colis Rouge (Rue du Monde, 2007) is a wordless book about a mysterious red parcel.

Educated at Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg, Clotilde Perrin works in a variety of mediums: color pencil, watercolour, gouache and even cut paper —check out the wonderful Patron et Employee (from Didier Jeunesse, 2009). And she must have been working around the clock in recent times — six of her books were published in 2010!!  They included: Pedro à 100 à l'heure(Mango); La Farandole des Mots (Nouvel Angle); Tout Autour de Moi (Rue du Monde), and J'ai mis du sable dans mon cartable (Sarbacane)... about a little boy nostalgic for his summers at the beach.
Lucille Placin was at Rue du Monde signing her new book, Le Petit Oulipo, an anthology of wordplay and poetry.
I like her fresh and playful imagery —
it's no surprise that she's also gotten commissions from Djeco, the fabulous Parisian toymakers!

And at the stand of Bayard Presse, there was Hervé Tullet and Bridget Strevens.

In addition to illustrating children's books and magazines (for Albin Michel, Tourbillon and Bayard, among others), Bridget teaches at Parsons Paris Art School and is very active in SCBWI.
As for Hervé, his lively and interactive books—which have been translated to English and released in the USA— got a lot of acclaim at the Bologna Book Fair in recent years.
Of course this looooooooooooooong blog post doesn't begin to scratch the surface.... these are only a few of the illustrators I managed to talk with. If you are interested in seeing some of the Salon's prize-winners, check their site!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Salon du Livre, Montreuil — pt. 1

Here, as promised—and only two months late!— is a whirlwind tour of the Salon du Livre at Montreuil, which I attended back in early December.
Entrance:  this image, which could be seen all over Paris in the run-up to the Salon, is by the lovely Charlotte Gastaut.
Here is an overview of the Salon, looking uncharacteristically calm and sedate. In reality, it is wall-to-wall people, including eleventy million roaring children, on school trips or family outings, or just hoping to meet their favourite author.  In this aspect, the salon at Montreuil differs from the one at Bologna, which (I'm told) is open only to professionals.

Founded 26 years ago, the Salon has grown in both size and reputation —this time, there were about 350 maisons d'éditions (publishing houses, large and small) present — mainly French (or from francophone countries) — and spread out on three floors. 

As well as selling books, their stands also serve as meeting points for writers, illustrators, editors, art directors and publishers. Some of them are mini-gallery spaces, featuring originals, prints and posters from their illustrators, like the one above from the wonderful publishing house Rue du Monde. And—not least— there are signings and reading, where the authors and artists meet their adoring public face to face!  But more on that in a future post...

If you are an illustrator, you're most likely at the salon to show your work.  There is the infamous Rencontres D.A. (above, left) which can be a bit of a mêlée: 20-25 art directors (in a small space) do their best to see as many hopeful artists as they can at something like 20-minute intervals.  This must be arranged (in writing) long in advance. The alternative is to take your chances and find an art director at the stand (above, right) who will sit down briefly to look at your portfolio and chat with you. 

Of course there is more to the salon at Montreuil than publishers' stands. From art exhibits to workshops and signings, and even a film festival, there is always something to catch your eye and engage your mind—but more on all that in a future post(s)!  All in all, the whole experience is inspiring, exhilarating...and exhausting.  When you come home with the huge pile of catalogues that you will have gathered, you can both prolong the experience and rest your feet!