For over a year now James Mayhew has been highlighting the world of illustration and the work of illustrators on his twitterfeed. Every day he posts the work of an illustrator, some working now, some from the past, many from around the world, famous illustrators and people new to the art. It’s always wonderful to see, often reminds me of people whose work I have forgotten, and teaches me new names. To find them, follow the #BookIllustrationOfTheDay.
James has asked me to take over for a week while he is away at a school in Ankara. Wise or foolish, to hand me such a treasure? I feel very honoured. It’s a chance for me to celebrate the art of illustration, an art that needs celebrating.
Recently I was assured by someone I am working with that they would always refer to me as an ‘artist’ and never an ‘illustrator’ in any publicity. Why? Because in the eyes of many illustration is a lesser art. In the eyes of others it seems it’s easy to completely disregard. I listened to a radio interview the other day about The Lost Words where the radio presenter managed to talk for about ten minutes without mentioning my name once. Quite a feat.
I’m proud to be called an illustrator. If, however, you wish to refer to me as a ‘local artist’ I suggest you stand well back. After all, everybody has to live somewhere. And if illustration is only taken seriously by some folk when Peter Blake decides to illustrate Under Milk Wood this reflects more on those people than it does on our industry.
So, I will celebrate illustration, and I will try to curate an interesting week of #BookIllustrationOfTheDay.
In the meantime the wonderful people at Lost Words for Oxforshire are almost at their target. To help them get there I have been tidying up. I found a book.
It’s a 7th edition of The Lost Words with no words! They were lost. I think there are 8 copies. I have 4, Rob has 4 ( he’s not the illustrator by the way, just the bloke who wrote some words to go with my pictures)
I drew on one of the front pages, a small original, in pencil, ‘a gleam for a teasel’, and signed it.
I’m offering it for sale for the Lost Words for Oxfordshire at £250 ( Sold now, sorry).
It has some curious mottling on the cover. The book was sat on one of my other desks for a while, and seems to have reacted to the light from the window. I’ve asked our wonderful publisher at Hamish Hamilton to try to make this happen with every edition. It just requires removing a few copies before foiling them. I love the irony of The Lost Words.
Right, time to sit by the fireside and read, if I can find a free chair.