The Magic of Art
Every tale you read in Storytime is a team effort – but we must also give extra credit to the amazing artists who give them life and colour! They bring their own unique talents, ideas and visions and transform the stories they work on.
This month our tales offer a feast of delightful characters and magical spaces where adventures happen… so we would like to invite you to visit them all, and point out some special touches. We hope this encourages you to take a second look at their amazing work!
Cool as a Capybara is a fun story about some animals who get trapped by a flood in the Amazon rainforest. Don’t worry, they get rescued by the unsung heroes of the jungle, a herd of capybaras – the world’s biggest rodents! Saemi Oliveira had the challenge of making the many creatures in this story realistic and recognisable while also making them cute and lovable at the same time. We think you’ll agree that Saemi got the balance just right!
Folk tales are often about characters who enter a world of enchantment where nothing is as it seems! White-Thorn and the Talking Bird is a classic example from Britanny. Michela Peloso uses simple lines and flowing inks or watercolours to give the story an appropriately dreamlike feel. Her rendering of the magical ‘Sea-Cow’ that the heroine encounters is wonderfully creative and magical, but makes perfect sense in a folk tale reality. Be sure to check it out!
Lily Fosset faced a unique challenge when illustrating the story of Vincent Van Gogh’s childhood in The Fire Inside. She borrows elements of Van Gogh’s style (especially the textures of the trees and grass and the swirls in the sky), welcoming us into Vincent’s world in a light and approachable way.
Reading a fairy tale can be a wonderful experience, but some places can seem a bit repetitive in old classics.
There are so many struggling heroes or heroines, mysterious helpers, quests and strange rituals in these stories, so what can an artist do to keep the reading experience fresh? Diletta Sartorio made the tale of The Crystal Ball charming and lively by giving all of the characters vivid personalities! Carlotta the heroine is perky and determined, the ogres she encounters are hilariously goofy, and the bull she tames comes across as cute and loveable. We welcome a fresh take into classic tales and believe that’s how we should bring them to a new young audience. Do you have a favourite character in this one?
Many of our bedtime stories feature characters from popular stories and fairy tales. Many of them have appeared in iconic films and cartoons, so our artists face the challenge of creating a cool new look for these beloved figures. Matea Anic came up with wonderful renditions of Sleeping Beauty, her fairy godmother and the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland for Second-Hand Magic. You recognise them immediately and yet they don’t look anything like the versions you will have seen elsewhere in popular culture. They are totally fresh and original, while fitting the characters perfectly!
We’re proud of featuring stories from all over the world in the pages of our magazine, but what does an artist do when they have to illustrate a story from a culture they’re not familiar with? For Truc Nhi Hoang, the answer is: do plenty of research and immerse yourself in the art of the culture the story comes from! Nanabush and the Thunderbird is a legend from the Ojibwe people of North America, and the artist combined elements of their colourful and abstract art into her own style to render this story in a unique and colourful way that stays true to its origins. Bravo!
Jokwa and the Stones of Five Colours is a Japanese story about brave heroes who battle a wicked giant! Kaori Iha’s renditions of waves and mountains remind us of similar scenes from classic Japanese art (especially the woodblock prints of Hiroshige). They are as magnificent as the story and its characters, so much so that we can almost hear their sounds.
When faced with illustrating the fable of The Bat, the Bramble and the Seagull for this issue, Samantha Davies created a wonderful and detailed place for these characters to live in! Look at all the detail in the background of the opening spread. Characters throng the docks of the harbour and buildings loom in the background and fade into the distance! The art is truly beautiful and invites you to explore it with your eyes…
We hope you enjoy the vibrant art of this issue as much as loved featuring these magic places, so full of colours. These tales may inspire you to learn more about each world and creature featured, more so they may also turn out to be treasure forever in your imagination. Long live stories and beautiful art, we say!