Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘illustration’

12 JULY, 2012

The Naughty Nineties: A Victorian Pop-Up Book for Adults Only

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A pull-tab time machine of risqué rites.

Being a lover of unusual pop-up books and naughty Victoriana, imagine my delight at the discovery of The Naughty Nineties: A Saucy Pop-Up Book for Adults Only (public library) — a marvelous 1982 gem that transports you a century back, to the friskiest frontiers of Victorian society in the 1890s, illustrated in a black-and-white ink style reminiscent of Edward Gorey’s and outfitted with various pull-tabs and paper mechanics for your playful pleasure.

And, hey, look — I made some animated GIFs of it. (Though they are no substitute for the analog-interactive real deal.)

For a different treat in the same vein of Victorian raunchiness, see Edward Gorey’s The Curious Sofa and Scrap Irony.

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11 JULY, 2012

No Man’s Land: A Meditation on Mortality and Self-Delusion from French Illustrator Blexbolex

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“And still, that insinuating, ever-growing silence.”

French comic artist and illustrator Blexbolex may be best-known for his contemplative meditations on people and time, aimed at children yet agelessly delightful and thought-provoking, but he is also a masterful explorer of complex grown-up themes. No Man’s Land (public library), from London indie publisher No Brow, is a poignant satire of the mind’s well-documented gift for fooling itself and seducing us into our own hand-spun illusory realities. Printed in three spot-colors, screenprint-like, on beautiful matte paper — Blexbolex’s signature style — it tells the story of a hero spiraling into an implausible dreamland in hopeless escapism from the processes of mortality.

And still, that insinuating, ever-growing silence.

Hell. I survived hell; you don’t even have the beginning of the slightest idea.

At once an exquisitely crafted artifact and a beautiful, unsettling story, No Man’s Land is the kind of treasure chest in which you find new gems with each reading, uncover new slivers of existential truth, peel away new layers of the human condition.

Thanks, Claudia

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28 JUNE, 2012

Alice in Wonderland Pop-Up Book

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“Oh, I’ve had such a curious dream!”

As a lover of all things Alice in Wonderland and of extraordinary pop-up books (and neo-pop-up books), imagine my delight in stumbling upon Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Pop-up Adaptation (public library) — a kind of “Victorian peep show” version of the Lewis Carroll classic by pop-up book artist and paper engineer Robert Sabuda, and a beautiful testament to the whimsy of paper books.

Then the Queen, quite out of breath, said to Alice, ‘Have you seen the Mock Turtle yet?’

‘No,’ said Alice. ‘I don’t even know what a Mock Turtle is.’

‘It’s the thing Mock Turtle Soup is made from,’ said the Queen.

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