Monday, 5 December 2016

Sky High Building Puzzle

Sky High Building Puzzle

By Marc Boutavant 
Published by Chronicle Books

From one of my favourite illustrators comes this inventive puzzle where you can design the most dazzling and fun sky high buildings.

The set comes with 12 double-sided puzzle pieces that allow the builder to arrange in any way they want. Each piece tells a story and is jam packed with Marc Boutavant's beautiful trademark illustration. The cards are colourful and fun and are large and sturdy for small hands to hold easily.

Sky High is hours of fun and would make the perfect present for any eager builders. It's available to buy now in all good bookshops and online as Chronicle Books.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Interview with Ingela P Arrhenius

Art and design have always played a big part in Ingela P Arrhenius' life. Before her career as an illustrator took off, Ingela worked as an art director in Stockholm. She's since been commissioned for creating print patterns for fabrics, wallpaper, stationary as well as posters, product design, home accessories and toys. She's passionate about retro style, typography and colour. She lives in Stockholm with her husband and two boys.

BWB: You are renown for illustrating a huge number of different animals. Are there any you struggle to illustrate in your signature style?

IPA: Any animals? No. I love to draw them all. The only struggle is when new clients want me to draw animals and I don´t want them to clash with earlier work. Then it feels I have to re-invent myself over and over. 

BWB: Animals is your first animal alphabet book, is this something you've always wanted to get published?

IPA: I have, for some strange reason :) , never thought of that. Maybe because there are so many all ready. 

BWB: Do you have a favourite picture book?

IPA: My favourite picture books are old ones. I love the work of Hungarian K├íroly Reich, Swedish Olle Eksell, the American coupe Alice and Martin Provensen to mention some. When I was a child I loved the books by Richard Scarry, especially What Do People Do All Day. I could look in it for hours and if I see it today I remember all the feelings and thoughts I had back then.

BWB: What inspires your beautiful colour palettes?

IPA: Old children´s books, patterns, fabrics, etc. I can do hundreds of versions of colour combinations before I am done. I love it.

BWB: There are illustrators the world over that are inspired by your work. Who in the illustration/design world inspires you?

IPA: I would say the people I mentioned above. I like to get inspired by work from the past. And it has always been like that. When I look at my work from art school in the early 90´s it pretty much looks the same.

BWB: Your work can be found on anything from wooden toys to colourful plates. Which do you prefer designing for?

IPA: Everything! If I like the product and think my design would fit for it I get inspired and want to get started. Right now I get a lot of request and have to look close at the companies so I really like what they stand for. But wooden toys are something special :)

BWB: What picture books can we expect from you in the future?

IPA: More work for French Marcel & Joachim. Board books for Nosy Crow that I am working on right now. And books for the American market but they are the contract-stage so I can´t say anything yet.

BWB: Can we expect to see you in London/UK anytime soon for any exhibitions or publicising your work?

IPA: I hope so! But nothing planned right now.

Thanks to Ingela for taking the time to answer my questions. Check out more of Ingela's fab work on her website here. Animals is her latest book with Walker Books which is available to buy now!



By Ingela P Arrhenius 
Published by Walker

Ingela P Arrhenius is a powerhouse in the world of design, with her wondrous bold illustrations donning everything from wallpaper to home accessories. Animals is her first title with Walker Books and it is filled with all kinds of animals, from alligators to zebras. A treat for any fan or introducing Ingela's work to a new one!

There are quite a few animal alphabet books on the market at the minute, but this stands out for two reasons. One this is not a typical ABC book, the animals aren't in alphabetical order, instead they are just random using animals that aren't always obvious. Secondly this book is HUGE! It's presented as a very large format hard back (454 x 332 mm) which would be a great coffee table book or on a shelf in a nursery. Each page is good enough to be a poster or print, it looks that good! 

This is a wonderful art book. From stunning illustrations to desirable typography, this is a book to cherish and keep. A lovely present for Christmas this year for art lovers to introducing young children to the wonderful world of animals. Animals is available to buy from all good bookshops and to buy online from Walker Books. To find out more about Ingela and her work check out my interview here. 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Interview with Joe Todd-Stanton

Joe is a south London based illustrator who graduated from Bristol University in 2012, since then he has worked with a large range of clients including Anorak, Nobrow and Cricket Magazine. He has a bold colourful style, but still tries to keep his work grounded in his strong line work, due to the heavy childhood influence of illustrators such as Tove Janssen and Maurice Sendak.

BWB: Arthur and the Golden Rope is your debut book for children. Are you happy with the end result?

JTS: I'm very happy with how it turned out. After spending so much time developing it it's an amazing feeling just to be able hold it and see other people enjoying it. I also can't wait to use everything I have learned from this experience on my next project. 

BWB: How did the idea for Arthur and the Golden Rope come about?

JTS: The idea came from loving illustrators like Tom Gauld & Mike Magnolia who can take huge ideas from mythology or literature and make them there own. Really the first idea I had was something along the lines of Hellboy for kids although this changed a lot as the story grew. 

BWB: Who and what inspires your work?

JTS: The boring answer is anything and everything but I especially love going to museums. I don't think I ever walk away from a trip to the Natural History Museum without an idea for an illustration or two.  This also goes for the Hunterian although those ideas are normally a lot stranger! 

BWB: I adore your illustration style. Is it mostly digital or do you have a technique you prefer to use over software?

JTS: Thank you! I draw everything in pencil and then colour using Photoshop. One thing I focus on is still trying keep my work looking loose and hand drawn so I limit myself to only a few brushes in Photoshop. 

BWB: How long did Arthur and the Golden Rope take to produce from the first idea to the finished book in your hands?

JTS: The whole process took nearly four years! This was because we made a version which was never released as we weren't happy with some of the elements. Obviously I am really happy with how it turned out so I have no regrets. 

BWB: Any plans for a follow up?

JTS: We have a basic outline for the second story now which I am really happy with. It still needs a few tweaks but I will hopefully get started on it later this year for a 2017 release.

Huge thanks to Joe and Emma at Flying Eye Books for making this interview happen. Arthur and the Golden Rope is available to buy at all good booksellers and on the Flying Eye Books website. Check out my review right here

Arthur and the Golden Rope

Arthur and the Golden Rope

By Joe Todd-Stanton 
Published by Flying Eye Books

Come with us now on a journey through time and space, to a world filled with vikings, magical objects, powerful gods and mythical beasts and your new favourite book series from new talent, Joe Todd-Stanton.

Imagine a vault so cavernous that it could contain the world’s greatest treasures, from mummified remains of ancient monarchs to glistening swords brandished by legendary warriors. How did Professor Brownstone come into possession of such a collection? Hear the tale of the very first Brownstone and his quest for the golden rope as we travel back to the land of the Vikings. A place filled with magical objects, powerful gods and legendary beasts to be conquered!

This is a thrilling tale about an unlikely hero who uses his intellect to become a great warrior. I couldn't put this book down. Joe's illustrations are full of depth and immense detail and on top of that we have a wondrous story to boot! I love Arthur's character, a little adventurer that loves to explore and do the right thing. Throw in a huge dash of mythology and you have a story that any fantasy book fan will adore. If you're a Hilda fan then this will definitely whet your appetite - and that's coming from a huge Hilda fan.

Overall Arthur and the Golden Rope is a wondrous debut from a brand new talent that's one to watch. I'm sure there will be more great treasures from Joe very soon...

Arthur and the Golden Rope is available to buy from all good booksellers and from the Flying Eye Books website here. To find out more about its creator, I interviewed Joe about all sorts here.

The Pirate Cruncher

The Pirate Cruncher

By Jonny Duddle 
Published by Templar Publishing

Another one of Jonny Duddle's classic pirate books gets the board book treatment in this special edition. So if you missed it first time round, beware of the pirate cruncher!

An old pirate tells a tavern full of salty sea dogs about an island bursting with hidden treasure. Once they’ve set sail for the mysterious island, he tells them it is guarded by the terrible Pirate-Cruncher. The greed of the pirates gets the better of them and lets just say the treasure they seek is in safe hands...

Much like Jonny's other pirate titles, The Pirate Cruncher isn't your typical pirate picture book - full of humour and more colourful characters, this is a pirate story with a bite! Jonny flexes his signature style, and the level of detail is phenomenal. Again this board book comes with a surprise flap out spread that reveals something the pirates are unaware of and will certainly having young pirate fans chuckling. A great board book for the pirate in you!

The Pirate Cruncher is available to buy now in this new board book edition from all good bookshops and from online retailers.

The Pirates Next Door

The Pirates Next Door

By Jonny Duddle 
Published by Templar Publishing

Ever wanted pirates for next door neighbours? This story from the wonderful Jonny Duddle may make you think twice. Now in a smaller, board book format, there's another chance to catch this one if you missed it first time around...

The Jolley-Rogers family are moving to Dull-on-Sea, a quiet seaside town. Stopping to fix their ship, this pirate family get the whole town gossiping. Ignoring the grown-ups’ disapproval, Matilda from next door becomes friends with the youngest pirate son. But the rest of the town are not impressed with their new pirate neighbours and demand the council have them removed from their little town. Although the pirates aren't looking to stay for long, they still leave quite a generous present on their departure that leaves a lasting impression...

If you're not familiar with the original print of this book, it's a humorous rhyming tale with a surprise flap out spread towards the end. It's a delightful story about not stereotyping people at first glance. Pirates obviously have a reputation for not being the nicest of people, but this family of pirates are there to change that misconception. Filled with Jonny's beautifully rendered style, each spread is jam packed with detail and great character illustration. A must buy for any pirate fan! 

The Pirates Next Door is available to buy in a new board back edition from all good bookshops and online.