Monday, 21 March 2011

Jan Pienkowski

I have been creating a new papercut for an event happening in June called Fairy tales and Monsters. I will be posting some images of it's progression later this week, but in the meantime I just wanted to highlight one of it's inspirations, Jan Pienkowski.

Jan Pienkowski is one of those illustrators that people may not know by name but show some one one of his drawings and you will have everybody exclaiming "Oh him!!". If you are of a certain age then you will instantly recognise his most famous creations Meg and Mog who I am rediscovering at the moment through my two year old daughter who has insisted that they are her bedtime read for the past two months!

He was born in Warsaw in 1936, made his first book when he was 8, as a present for his father (on the subject of road rage - but featuring a horse and cart). When WWII arrived he moved through Europe,from Poland to Austria, Germany, Italy and then finally to England in 1946. There he read Classics and English and started creating  posters for theatre, but it was with his pop up books and Meg and Mog that he became best known.

It was his book of fairy tales that caught my eye when thinking about creating my paper cut. he used delicately drawn silhouettes to tell four classic European fairy tales and although I could not capture his detailing through cutting paper it was a joy to look at and to let my imagination run riot. I have  a few images from Joan Aiken's Kingdom of the Sea which he illustrated in 1972 and won the Kate Greenaway Medal. I also came across this enchanting audio slideshow on him talking about his work, I recommend taking the time to watch it.

This snakey fellow from the cover of "The Kingdom Under the Sea"
reminded me of the monster in the title sequence of Pixars' Monsters Inc.
I wonder if a few seeds of inspiration were planted?

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