October 28, 2012

Children's Book: Eric

Eric by Shaun Tan

No bigger than my palm this little book possesses one of the most charming characters I've ever seen. This is how the story starts: "Years ago we had a foreign exchange student come to live with us. We found it very difficult to pronounce his name correctly, but he didn't mind. He told us to just call him 'Eric'."

I was really surprised by Shaun Tan's unique approach to story telling in this book. He emphasized the main theme which is "difference" by juxtaposing text and images that seem to have no relation to each other. However, when you read the story and see the illustrations, it all makes sense.

Eric was first published in his award-winning masterpiece Tales from Outer Suburbia. There's a great interview between Shaun Tan and Neil Gaiman where they discuss about Eric and Shaun Tan's creative process.

October 26, 2012

RISD Design Center

I can't believe it's been nearly four months since my summer studies at RISD! I'm so behind with keeping my posts up to date. Shame on me! Oh well... Without further ado, let me continue my series of posts from my stay in Providence, Rhode Island.

As I already mentioned in my previous posts, this July my sister and I were taking book design and magazine design courses at Rhode Island School of Design. Both courses were two weeks long. Classes used to start at 9AM and finish at 4:30PM. We used to work after classes as well to keep up with everyone. During book design course we had to produce three prototypes of books: an all-type book (a standard text-only book), a cook book, and an illustrated book with drawings or photographs. For the magazine design course we were producing a prototype of a culture magazine consisting of three articles. We were given both text and images to work with for all the articles.

Both instructors covered book and magazine design history and openly shared their professional experience and working process. They even gave away some top secrets :)! We also had workshops and lectures by guest speakers. It was interesting to see how people with different design backgrounds (some had no previous experience in design and some were already working in the design industry) approached the same assignments and came up with great ideas and solutions.

Having our books all printed and binded at the end of two weeks felt very rewarding. I probably wouldn't lie if I said that it was my most productive month in several years. A really enriching experience, indeed!

Below are some images of RISD Design Center where both courses took place.

A pile of books for reference

All-type books

Cook books

Illustrated books

Our book design course instructor
cut out and made hundreds of little
artist books out of magazines

We could take as many as we wanted!

Magazine layouts hanging 
on the wall for critique

An exhibition of dust jackets by 
Paul Rand in the corridor

These are my books that I created during the courses

October 21, 2012

Children's Book: Croc and Bird

Croc and Bird by Alexis Deacon

While I was in Cambridge during a children's book illustration course this summer, I got my hands on Alexis Deacon's newest picture book Croc and Bird. It's a story about a very unusual friendship between... well, the title says it all. If you don't know Alexis Deacon's work yet, definitely check it out. His work is brilliant!

October 14, 2012

Children's Book: The Mole and the Car

The Mole and the Car by Zdeněk Miler

Meet the Mole (originally, Krtek)! My sister and I used to watch animated series about him when we were kids. We remember some of the episodes to this day.

This character came to life in 1954 when a Czech animator and illustrator Zdeněk Miler... stumbled over a molehill during a walk! He created around 50 animated films about Krtek. Zdeněk Miler passed away last year. In order to commemorate him and his widely popular character, a series of books about the Mole were published in Lithuania. I bought this book to keep me reminded of one of my childhood influences. You can feel a strong sense of design in Zdeněk Miler's illustrations. There's a lot you can learn as an illustrator and as an artist just by looking through them.

I think this character deserves more attention, but that's probably how I feel about most of the book and animated characters from my childhood.

October 11, 2012

Children's Book: A Apple Pie

A Apple Pie by Kate Greenaway

I found this book last summer in the Chaucer Head bookshop in Bath, UK. What I liked about this copy was that the illustrations were printed from the original woodblocks make by Kate Greenaway. There's something very charming about this book. Maybe it's due to the small imperfections in printing or the delicate lines of wood engravings... See for yourself!

October 2, 2012

Cityscape of Providence

Here starts the series of posts about my visit to Providence, Rhode Island. There's just so much material to share that I decided to do it in several posts.

This June, my sister Alina and I had a wonderful opportunity to stay in Providence, Rhode Island, for a month. We took two summer courses (book design and magazine design) at Rhode Island School of Design. It was an invaluable experience and one that I'll never forget.

My sister and I stayed in RISD's dormitories. We got a flat that was on the 10th floor! The rooms were very spacious and had huge windows (this building used to be a bank). The view from the windows was amazing, especially in the evenings and at night. I used to stand near the window a lot and watch how the sky changes its colors within minutes or marvel at all the lights of the buildings and streets.

For my first post I selected images that show the cityscape of Providence. Let this be the introduction to this city :)!

We used to take walks along the canal in the evenings

RISD's campus as seen through our windows. We 
studied in the Design Center (the tall white building)

The building we lived in (the library 
was conveniently located on the 
first floor of the same building)