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As part of blogging 101 this week we were asked to leave comments on others blogs the only catch being that we had never commented on there before. This seemed easy, mist of the blogs I watch I have never left a comment on, so comment away I did.

This morning there was today’s task, to write a post inspired by the comments inspired by to posts seen yesterday. Mind a little bit blown I must admit. I’ve spent all day wondering what I said that could have been that awe inspiring really. Then ta-da! I realized that I have given myself the perfect opening to being the monthly post I have been intending to put into motion for some time now.

Once a Month I will share an artist who, throughout my life, be it childhood, or discovered as a teen or an adult has inspired me. Who’s work intrigues me and I love.

I had commented on Kyly Sheldons post about the new prints she had just bought, and discovered we have a mutual love for the artist. However I am not going to be sharing adorable water colours.

It was looking at the wonderful, day to day sketches over at Doodlemum and commenting on her lovely line work (which reminds me of a more soft edged Quentin Blake) which brought me to one of my absolute favorite illustrators.

Chris Riddell.

An award winning British Illustrator and occasional Author who is the newly appointed childrens laureate, and is in my opinion, shockingly unknown.

I very first encountered Riddells work in a book called “Beyond the Deep woods” the first of the Edge Chronicles. I was 11 years old and loved reading. My Dad bought me the book as we both love fantasy stories, and I think he had quite fancied the sound of it and just used me as a ruse. It was an easy read for me as I had been reading adult books for years but I was the Illustrations which really sucked me in. And although I still read the books now, I more regularly flick through them just to look at the pictures.

I think what drew me too them then, is that his illustrations were not like those that I had seen in children’s books before, the characters were a bit wonky, people’s faces were exaggerated, all the odd little beasts were as adorable, or us utterly disgusting as they deserved to be. The way he gives his characters either normal, or very small eyes, unlike the more commonly seem rather large ones, gives them so much more expression and character. The images are dynamic, violent, and busy. I am disappointed that I couldn’t find more decent images from the “Edge Chronicles” to share because there really is such depth and breadth in them. Compared to the beautiful yet starchy Illustrations of fantasy artist like Alan Lee (Who i also love) there was just something very vibrant and addictive in those short, scribble, detailed and precise lines of Riddells ink work.

The lines themselves in his Illustrations are something to marvel at. Each one is so perfectly placed and executed, whether he is producing something simple, with a few clean lines and some block shading, or whether it is layer upon layer of cross hatch and stippling. Revisiting Riddells work over the last year has certainly encouraged me to think a little more out of the box with character design, that a bit of body dimorphism goes a long way, that if your proportions are off then that’s cool too as long as you can own it.

What I like best though. Is when you see one of his Illustrations, you know straight away.

check out his sketch book pages here: http://chrisriddellblog.tumblr.com/

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