The Daydreamer

We've just received a hardcopy of 'The Daydreamer', due to be republished in September - and it looks great! It has a newly designed cover and colour illustrations throughout. You can pre-order your copy online now.

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Preliminary drawings

Here are some preliminary drawings from Anthony's current project, 'Our Girl'. Having shown other examples of Anthony's drawing process on this page, we asked Anthony to describe it more fully for us;

'The words and pictures generally come together. At first I have an idea in my head which is a bit like remembering a dream. I then draw out a series of twenty-four rectangles (representing the twelve double-page spreads which form the main part of a typical picture book), and fill them with very rough drawings and scrawls of text. In my mind there is a kind of animation to the idea, and I view my storyboard almost exactly as a filmmaker would. Rather than the fixed pictures they will eventually become, I view the boxes as frames or scenes from the story, with a clear sense of progression through time. “Playing out” the book in this way ensures that the visual and the textual come to me at the same time.

Having made a storyboard, I like to cut-out the individual “frames” and stick them into a small book. The dummy is the first incarnation of the idea that I show to my editor. With the dummy as a reference, we discuss the general qualities of the prospective book and suggestions are offered as to how I could improve the text, the layout and the general rhythm.

I go back to my studio and set to work on the final pictures. I start by making slightly more detailed preliminary drawings on thin layout paper, the proportions of which correspond with the final book. As they are drawings, I can afford to make mistakes at this point, and I alter as many details as I need to until I am satisfied with the image. One thing that is notable about the drawings at this stage is the absence of many details. This maintains my creative interest throughout the production of the final artwork. I then transfer the drawings onto watercolour paper, using a very sharp, hard pencil to trace the image onto the new surface.'

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Anthony Browne's Happy Theatre exhibition opens in Seoul

There is currently a major exhibition on display of Anthony's work at the Seoul Arts Centre!

The Anthony Browne exhibition which attracted 200,000 visitors in 2016 and won the SAC Audience Choice Award, has been revamped as 'Anthony Browne's Happy Theatre'. Alongside original Anthony Browne drawings on display (of which there are around 150), the exhibition also features creative installations, moving image interpretations, and musical theatre performances of his books. The exhibition is fun for all the family and well worth a visit.

The exhibition will be on display at the Hangaram Design Museum until September 2019.

Little Frida

Here's another teaser from Anthony's current project - what do you think? 

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Little Frida

Anthony is currently working on a new book called 'Little Frida'. We asked him what techniques he uses to write and illustrate a new story and this is what he said; "I tend to do lots of pencil drawings to begin with (roughs) and then go on to make a dummy. Ideas can sometime take a long time to come together. I then normally use watercolour for the paintings and gouache as a coverup."

Here are some images from his recent dummy.

Man Is An Animal

Anthony discussing his final art degree exhibition, 'Man is an Animal' (1967). 
Extract from 'Playing the Shape Game' (2003)

'... The exhibition consisted of four large oil paintings and a book. The pictures in the book were of people indulging in typical everyday activities, but the accompanying text for each image described basic animal behaviour. It related to the picture books that I make now, in which the relationship between the words and the pictures is rarely uncomplicated. I like to include differences and gaps between the two components that the reader has to fill in with his or her imagination. 

With the ‘Man Is An Animal’ book, I was trying to illustrate the similarities between human and animal behaviour...'

'...For the final show I put the book on a table and surrounded it with the four Baconesque oil paintings. They were large, figurative canvases – untitled, but with vague themes such as aggression and sexuality. The paintings were intended to imply the connection between human and animal behaviour, without spelling the message out as the book did...'

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What's going up my leg?

Anthony discussing his childhood drawing.
Extract from 'Playing the Shape Game'

'...Most of my pictures were of great battles: soldiers, cowboys or knights in armour, caught in moments of ferocious conflict. At first they just looked like scenes of terrible carnage, but a closer look revealed jokes, speech bubbles and snippets of descriptive writing. I loved to use words and pictures together, and long before I considered a career in children’s books (as a four-year-old, I saw my future taking place in the boxing ring rather than the studio), I was creating pictures that were more interesting than they first appeared. 

I haven’t kept any of the battle scenes, but this picture of a pair of legs (presumably mine) is fairly typical Browne, then and now. Unlike my actual legs, these have pirates hiding in their shoes and climbing up the 'masts'. I have learnt over the years that children are natural surrealists. To a child, a pair of legs has limitless possibilities; the socks and shoes are merely the least interesting starting point. I suspect that Freud would have plenty to say about the image, but I believe I had a very secure and balanced childhood! 

The drawing is an advanced example of the Shape Game. I have taken an ordinary picture and, with a few extraordinary additions, transformed it into a story. It has changed from something purely representational into something strange, dream-like, interesting. Of course, one could say that all drawings are examples of the Shape Game. The artist looks at a face or a tree and transforms it into their interpretation of what they see. When an image is reproduced on paper it is unavoidably manipulated, personalised, 'changed into' a drawing...'

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