Otto is andermaal blij. Hij gaat op reis, met papa en ditmaal zelfs met het vliegtuig! Waar hij precies heen vliegt, blijft tot aan het einde onduidelijk, maar het is er zeker zonniger dan hier. Wederom een groot vertikaal kartonboek met dubbele leesrichting (heen & weer) en dubbele bodems, maar vooral veel ruimte voor nieuwe vreemde vogels (die al dan niet kunnen vliegen). Geen otto’s dus deze keer en zeker niks op otto-matische piloot. Wel uit de duim gezogen in een soort van examenroes gedurende de volledige maand juni (met slechts 3 dagen vertraging).
Meer over dit alles half oktober wanneer het ‘moederboek’ in het Nederlands verschijnt, maar ik lees hier net zelf dat ‘de chinezen’ (die ook de andere Otto-boeken kochten) een bod deden. Best niet te veel luchtbaalheid aan geven, maal Otto is wel degelijk blij.
Berlin based & übercool publisher Gestalten just came up with an international overview of illustrators working for children’s books. I haven’t received the real 3D book yet, but the images I saw last week seemed very promising. The promo says ‘Today’s best illustrators for children’s picture books create work far beyond teddy bears and kitty cats.’ Don’t know what’s wrong with cats & bears, but I think I got their point. Furthermore it says the book is ‘featuring the work of the best up-and-coming illustrators and creators of picture books for children’ and that ‘Little Big Books is a captivating showcase of what is state-of-the-art in today’s children’s books…’
Well, anyway, they preserved me 2 full spreads and seem to have made a fine choice of the samples we sent. And a fine choice of colleagues with compatriote & fellow-’illustrissima’ Gwénola Carrére and the likes of Marc Boutavant & Oliver Jeffers.
(this second spread is completely stuffed with a selection of cars & pedestrians I once put together to make fridge magnets for a live-DIY-version of ‘Otto goes to town’ at an exhibition in 2009)
Dutch TV -and radio organization VPRO has an excellent reputation when it comes to good taste – watch their 3h long program ‘Zomergasten’ on a quiet Sunday night- so when they invited me to a subject-free series of artistic summer covers, I immediately wanted to make something summer-like, but of a somehow more dubious taste (popular and flashy with at least some typo in Brush Script; more Veronica-style as we knew it in our Spartan-Belgian old days without commercial TV). Other participating artists are Claire Harvey, Liza May Post, Ruud van Empel, Michael Newhouse & Eddy Varekamp.
My first attempt was inspired by the omnipresent Olympics, but I must admit I was still in holiday mode and was mainly busy cleaning up my computer, stuffed with files and elements for my latest picture book called ‘Otto at the Airport’ – that I managed to finish just before our summer break with only 5 days of delay! – and for which I made plenty of colorful, international animals (and their equally colorful, international suitcases). More about it in some post to come. Here you can see the build up of the final cover (takes some time).
In fact I already have some kind of a track record at VPRO’s. In ’95 they ordered a cover with the shortest briefing ever: something about ‘suntan’ (not ‘sultan’!). In those days, I still had plenty of good taste, but very few colors at my disposition. And even less paper : I painted this ‘omnikini’ sunbather with diluted ink on a piece of kraft paper of 10 by 10 (cm).
It gained me an ADCN-award (from the Art Directors Club Nederland) in 1996 and I made them another cover for the Olympics of that year in Atlanta (aka the Coca Cola games) of which any trace seem to have disappeared in my archives. Probably for the better, because I remember it was one of my first trials in the acrylic discipline….