Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘illustration’

17 NOVEMBER, 2011

Inside the Creative Process of Cut-Paper Storyteller Béatrice Coron

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Slicing the different layers we’re made of, or what an 18th-century French statesman has to do with the MTA.

Béatrice Coron has been a shepherdess, a truck driver, a factory worker, a cleaning lady, and a tour guide. But today, Coron is one of the world’s most remarkable cut-paper artists. I first encountered her astounding artwork on New York’s F train last year and was thrilled to see her take the TED stage this past spring. In her fantastic TED talk, Coron — whose beautiful visual storytelling is a living testament to combinatorial creativity, borrowing inspiration from wildly diverse fields and subjects — takes you through her exceptional creative process and how her stories come to life. (Bonus points for the factoid on the etymology of the word “silhouette” which, as we know, comes from French minister of finance Étienne de Silhouette, famous for slashing so many budgets that people said they could no longer afford paintings and would instead have their portraits as “silhouettes.”)

In life, and in paper-cutting, everything is connected — one story leads to another.” ~ Béatrice Coron

My inspirations are very eclectic. I’m influenced by everything I read, everything I see.” ~ Béatrice Coron

The stories, they have a lot of possibilities, they have a lot of scenarios. I don’t know the stories — I take image from our global imagination, from cliche, from things we are thinking about, from history. And everybody is a narrator, because everybody has a story to tell, but more important is everybody has to make a story to make sense of the world.” ~ Béatrice Coron

Charming, thoughtful, and relentlessly inventive, Coron, with her blend of indiscriminate curiosity and focused creative voice, is a true inspiration. Her work can be found in the beautiful Paper Cutting Book, which features 25 more masterful paper artists and a preface by Brain Pickings favorite Rob Ryan.

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15 NOVEMBER, 2011

Salvador Dalí Illustrates Alice in Wonderland, 1969

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What the Mad Hatter has to do with one of the most inspired collaborations in Western culture.

Last week, we marveled at Leonard Weisgard’s stunning illustrations for the first color edition of Alice in Wonderland, circa 1949. But it turns out they might not be the most culturally intriguing. As reader Varvn Aryacetas points out on Twitter, exactly two decades later a collaboration of epic proportion took place as the Lewis Carroll classic was illustrated by none other than Salvador Dalí. (And let’s not forget what a soft spot I have for obscure children’s illustration by famous artists.)

Published by New York’s Maecenas Press-Random House in 1969 and distributed as their book of the month, the volume went on to become one of the most sought-after Dalí suites of all time. It contains 12 heliogravures — one for each chapter of the book and an original signed etching in four colors as the frontispiece — all of which the fine folks at the William Bennett Gallery have kindly digitized for your gasping pleasure:

Frontispiece

Down the Rabbit Hole

The Pool of Tears

A Caucus Race and a Long Tale

The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill

Advice From a Caterpillar

Pig and Pepper

Mad Tea Party

The Queen's Croquet Ground

The Mock Turtle's Story

The Lobster's Quadrille

Who Stole the Tarts?

Alice's Evidence

As you might expect, the book isn’t exactly easy to acquire — Amazon currently spots just a single copy, handsomely priced at $12,900, and there’s even a video tutorial on what to look for when you hunt for this treasure:

But the collaboration brought together two of the most exceptional creators of Western culture, both ticklers or curiosity and architects of the imagination, and who can really put a price tag on that? Besides, if this baby can command $4.3 million, what’s $13K for a Dalí?

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07 NOVEMBER, 2011

Leonard Weisgard’s Stunning 1949 Alice in Wonderland Illustrations

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A vibrant mid-century homage to one of the most beloved children’s books of all time.

It’s no secret I have a soft spot for obscure vintage children’s book illustration, especially by famous artists or of famous works. Spotted on the lovely Vintage Kids’ Books My Kids Love, here’s a beautiful 1949 edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, illustrated by Leonard Weisgardonly the second version of the Lewis Carroll classic, and the first with color illustrations UPDATE: Reader Mark Burstein, an avid Alice collector, kindly points out there have been multiple editions before Weisgard’s, including some in color.

The vibrant, textured artwork exudes a certain mid-century boldness that makes it as much a timeless celebration of the beloved children’s book as it is a time-capsule of bygone aesthetic from the golden age of illustration and graphic design.

Alice was beginning to get tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and having nothing to do; once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversation in it, ‘and what is the use of a book’ thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversations?'”

HT Flavorpill

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