Category: Educational
  1. 18

    Jul 2014

    M. Sasek (1916 – 1980)

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    Born 16th November 1916, Miroslav Sasek grew up in Prague. After finishing school he wanted to study to become a painter, but his parents were disapproving, so to appease them he decided to studied architecture instead. He did however study drawing and painting with Czech landscape artist Otakar Blažíček, and later in 1947 moved to Paris to study at the École des Beaux Arts. Just at the onset of his illustration career, prompted by the 1948 Czech coup, Mr Sasek decided not to return to his homeland and instead emigrate to Munich.

    Whilst earning a living as a graphic artist in advertising and architecture, Mr Sasek paid a visit to Paris, where it suddenly dawned upon him that there were not any books written for children to learn about their city. So in 1957 he created a children’s guide book to Paris, titled This is Paris. In doing so, he began what would become his life’s work. Following the success of This is Paris he went on to produce books on London (1959), Rome (1960), New York (1960) and many others. In total Mr Sasek produced 18 books in the series, with plans of others including Bombay and Canada. Sadly, in 1980 he died while visiting his sister in Switzerland, leaving those plans unrealised.

    The quality of the illustrations, and the success of the series earned Mr Sasek multiple awards over the years, including New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year (twice), Society of Illustrators Award for Excellence, and an entry in the International Board on Books for Young People Honour List.

    Obviously the best place to see more of M. Sasek’s work is by picking up one (or more) of his This Is… books, but you can also find further information on the Miroslav Sasek Foundation website, and this great little fan website.

  2. 3

    Mar 2014

    Sebastian Ramn

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    Sebastian Ramn is a freelance Art Director and Illustrator, operating out of Stockholm. His work ranges from editorial illustration to TV Network identities, animated shorts and graphic novels.

    Mr. Ramn’s recently established a new website to plays host to much of his current work, but with the key aim of providing in-depth background on his process and reasoning. His finely written article are definitely worth a read, you can start with Omission in storytelling.

  3. 5

    Nov 2013

    Gene Luen Yang

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    Multiple Eisner award winner, writer/illustrator, Gene Luen Yang began his career self-publishing his comic books under the name Humble Comics in 1996. He went on to write and draw a host of books including Animal Crackers, Prime Baby, American Born Chinese. The latter was released by First Second Books in 2006 and became the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award.

    Mr. Yang is also the writer of Dark Horse’s comic series the Avatar: The Last Airbender. Very recently First Second Books released his two-volume graphic novel project, Boxers & Saints.

    Not long ago I watched a wonderful talk Gene Luen Yang gave at Penn State University, where he champions the comic medium, and discusses his thoughts and process behind some of his work. If you have a spare 60 minutes, it’s definitely worth the watch.

  4. 15

    Oct 2013

    Gerard de Lairesse (1641 –1711)

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    Gerard de Lairesse (1641 –1711)

    Lairesse was one of the most celebrated Dutch painters following the death of the great Rembrandt. Lairesse worked as the key illustrator on one of the best anatomical books of the era Ontleding des menschelyken lichaams (1685) by Govert Bidloo. The illustrations were then engraved into copper plates for printing by Abraham Blooteling and Pieter van Gunst.

    Interestingly Ontleding des menschelyken lichaams was not a commercial success at the time and the publisher sold 300 of the extra printed plates to William Cowper, a noted English anatomist.

    Cowper published the plates with his own, English language text in Oxford in 1698 under the title, Anatomy of the humane bodies, without mentioning Bidloo or the artists of the original plates. Cowper went so far as to use Bidloo’s engraved allegorical title page, amended with an irregular piece of paper lettered: “The anatomy of the humane bodies …,” which fits over the Dutch title.

    A number of vitriolic exchanges took place between Bidloo and Cowper, including several pamphlets published in each anatomist’s defence. Cowper claimed, without much evidence presented, that the plates were not Bidloo’s at all, but that they were commissioned by Jan Swammerdam (1637-1680) and that after his death Swammerdam’s widow had sold them to Bidloo.

  5. 18

    Sep 2013

    Christopher Lee

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    Christopher Lee is a designer and illustrator from Sacramento. After graduating in 2006, he moved to California where he worked as an Art Director for Vapors Magazine, then moving on to motion graphics studio ‘Buck’, spending three years plying his trade there. In October of 2009 he braved the dangerous and exciting world of freelance illustration, and has never looked back. Christopher has also designed some vinyl toys, as well as setting up greetings card and paper goods company ‘The Birds and the Beasts’ with his girlfriend. Clients include Absolut, Adobe, Disney, Hasbro and Nickelodeon.

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