If you’re near Waterstones Piccadilly you have to drop in to see the Children’s Book Illustration Exhibition.
This magical exhibition features the original published artwork from some of the nation’s favourite children’s books, including the multi award-winning Laura Carlin.
Laura has received great acclaim for her work, in particular her interpretation of Ted Hughes’ ‘The Iron Man’ and ‘The Promise’, written by Nicola Davies and we caught up with her to ask a few burning questions:
LC: It took me a long time. Mainly getting rid of years of thinking that a good drawing was one which looked like a photograph.
I fell into studying illustration after learning on my Foundation Course that it would allow me to tell stories with pictures. Then I, like so many illustration students, felt pressured by the need to find my own ‘style.’ It took me a while to realise that it’s not about a style, but working out what and how you want to communicate through your images.
My way of working developed from looking at a scene and slowly omitting what wasn’t important. It’s hardly rocket science, but I really loved learning to edit my own images to put in the least amount of information. What was left was what was important to me.
I have always been interested in people’s body language. The way that someone’s way of standing can tell you how they’re feeling. The interaction between two people, the way someone chooses something from a menu…
As an illustrator, you have an enormous power – like a writer, filmmaker, designer – to show your audience what you think is funny, enlightening or important.
PBB: You’ve won some very prestigious awards, did that bring any unexpected/new opportunities your way?
LC: It’s been wonderful. I think the recent Bratislava Illustration Award has a special place in my heart because I am a big fan of so many of the illustrators involved, especially the Japanese ones who we don’t see enough here. It’s also exciting to see the UK taking a bigger part in the show. We’ll see if any opportunities come my way (fingers crossed)…
PBB: Ceramics or illustration?
LC: I am an illustrator – that’s what I studied for and have worked on for the past 15 years. I started making ceramics as a hobby about 8 years ago because I was a bit bored creatively. When the recession hit, I sold the ceramics I had made out of necessity. I didn’t have the time to think about how or why. Saying that, when I first started making ceramics I allowed everything to be seen. I put pressure on myself to show, via social media, everything I was making (I looked around me and thought that was what I should do.) I’m much more selective now with what’s shown. I was so impressed that I’d made anything at the beginning, now it has to do more than just exist!
I love working in both books and ceramics. They don’t always compliment one another, but they help keep an energy to my work. I have a long way to go before I call myself a ceramicist! I am an illustrator that loves to make and decorate clay.
PBB: If you could collaborate on a picture book with anyone who would it be and why?
LC: I would say an illustrator such as John Burningham or Mirocomachiko, but I think it would intimidate me too much. Perhaps Wolf Erlbruch or Michael Rosen could write me something?! They both write so beautifully and poignantly. On the whole, I feel very lucky to have worked with the authors I have.
It also becomes increasingly obvious to me that the designers, editors and publishers you work with are so very important. I am not an obvious children’s book illustrator so I am grateful to those who have given me the chance to try.
PBB: Can you show/tell us what you’re up to next?
LC: I am finishing a book for Walker Books together with Nicola Davies (the same author asThe Promise.) I’m also preparing for a show, predominantly ceramics, to take place in October 2016 at the House Of Illustration.
Come along and view the special pieces of unique artwork in the Waterstones Jermyn St Cafe, at any time during normal opening hours.
The exhibition runs from Friday 23rd October to Thursday 29th October 2015 Open: 10am – 6.30pm Mon-Sat. 11am – 4pm Sunday
The Children’s Book Illustration team will be on hand for purchases and any queries Thursday 22nd – Thursday 29th October, 10am – 6.30pm Mon – Sat, 11am – 4pm Sunday.