Tag: illustration

A graphic of silhouetted tombstones

This Children’s Book Helps Kids Cope with Loss

The truth about death is pretty depressing: it’s inevitable. As adults, we’re consciously aware of this fact mostly because we have no say in the matter—even if we escape death in our personal lives, that luck can only be tragically temporary (just like us, unfortunately!!!).


It’s often easier to joke about death than it is to confront it directly, as evidenced by this article. RIP, human nature. It can be difficult to live with the reality of death… so can you imagine how impossible it might feel to explain it to a kid, like spoiling the ending of an otherwise excellent story. This children’s book can serve as a gentle conversation-starter in a difficult time.


'The Funeral' children's book

Image Via Barnesandnoble.com


Matt James‘ The Funeral depicts a funeral from a child’s perspective. Even in its title, the book hints at the uncanny juxtaposition between the weight of death and the lighthearted whimsy of a child’s perspective—the fun in funeral is a cheery yellow while the word continues in a dim blue. Though the cover depicts tombstones, the two children are smiling and playful. The book opens:


Norma was practicing her sad face in the mirror of her parents’ room. Though she was, in fact, pretty happy. It was a day off from school, and she would be spending it with her cousin Ray. Her FAVORITE cousin, Ray.



'The Funeral' illustration depicting a child cartwheeling in the graveyard

Image Via 100scopenotes.com


The Funeral tackles the difficult questions, but, as in life, the hardest ones go unanswered. Norma asks: “is Uncle Frank still a person?” Instead of explaining to children what death means (or, even more daunting, what actually happens when you die), James simply depicts what the process of death might look like to a child. The book portrays a scene of the funeral itself, during which Norma laments “how looong they sat on those hard seats, with all that talk about God and souls, and not very much talk about Uncle Frank.” The story is unique in that it grounds itself in the physical, sensory details of a death—it is not an explanation but an introduction.



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Legendary Children’s Author and Illustrator John Burningham Dies at 82

There is something magical and pure about children’s picture books. Even more than any other books, they teach and bring joy. Furthermore, for younger generations to grow up loving books and being introduced to the wonders of creativity and imagination is a fantastic thing!


To all the children’s authors today, I thank you for your work! But today specifically, we honor one particular author and artist who we have sadly lost, children’s author and illustrator John Burningham.



Image result for helen oxenbury and john burningham

Image Via Telegraph Media Group


According to his official website, johnburningham.com, Burningham studied illustration and graphic design at the Central School of Art, graduating in 1959. With his degree he worked on several illustration commissions, including posters for London Transport. Each commission was made with whimsy and childlike imagination.



John Burningham poster, LT, 1961

Image Via twentiethcenturyposters.com

John Burningham poster, LT, Zoo Ahoy

This piece was designed to convince people to visit a local zoo. | Image Via twentiethcenturyposters.com

John Burningham Poster for London Transport

Image Via London Transport Museum Shop



The aspiring artist continued his work creating these charming illustrations for a living for some years, until finally his first book was published! That book was Borka: the Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers


Image Via Amazon

Mr. and Mrs. Plumpster are delighted when their six eggs hatch into adorable baby goslings. But one has them worried: Borka, who was born without feathers. The doctor encourages Mrs. Plumpster to knit Borka a fuzzy sweater, but while it helps keep out the cold, it doesn’t keep all the other young geese from teasing Borka — until, come migration day, her siblings fly off without her. What is the tearful goose to do? In a brand-new edition of his debut book for children —awarded a prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal in 1963 — the incomparable John Burningham turns a sad beginning into a whimsical tale of pluck and serendipity, kindness and kindred spirits, as he celebrates the rare birds among us.



This adorable and, at first, somewhat tragic tale about finding your own way no matter how “different” people may see you, helped jumpstart Burningham’s career in children’s books. Since then John Burningham has illustrated over thirty picture books, that have been translated and distributed all over the world.


Included in his vast collection Burningham has also published books collaborating with other artists and writers. The well-known novel Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car, which had its own film, entitled Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang, was one  book Burningham illustrated .


Image via Amazon


Ian Fleming, best known for his James Bond novels, wrote only one children’s book—and it is a classic! Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the name of the flying, floating, driving-by-itself automobile that takes the Pott family on a riotous series of adventures as they try to capture a notorious gang of robbers. This is a story filled with humor, adventure, and gadgetry that only a genius like Fleming could create.

Goodreads.com, synopsis of Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang



Burningham also took the challenge of solely writing a book! With the help of his wife Helen Oxynbury, who is an illustrator herself, the book There’s Going To Be A Baby was born (pun fully intended)!


Image Via Amazon


From two of the world’s best-loved picture-book creators, an absolute gem for new-siblings-to-be. When is the baby coming? What will we call it? What will the baby do? We don’t really need the baby, do we? As the arrival of a new sibling draws nearer, the questions that stream through a young child’s mind are followed with sensitivity and humour in this enchanting book. Exquisitely illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, these pages brim with love, excitement and reassurance as the child in the story imagines all kinds of colourful futures for the brother or sister he is waiting to meet. Full of warmth and promise, this is an instant and timeless classic.


This incredibly endearing story book is perfect for ever-growing families, and for the past eight years has been helping parents explain to their children that new baby is on the way. I can imagine it being the perfect project for the Burningham and Oxenbury!


Since his start from college as a poster illustrator for his community, he skyrocketed to famous children’s book author and illustrator. John Burman has brought whimsy, joy, and inspiration to the people of London and across the world! In honor of all his work in children’s books, John was awarded with the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award last year. His imaginitive and unique stories and charming illustrations will be remembered!


Related image

John with his wife Helen. | Image via Nursery World



Featured Image Via Flipboard


Florence Welch’s Debut Book Is Here and It Is Stunning!

Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, has just released her debut book, Useless Magic. Published under Penguin Random House and released yesterday, July 5th, this collection of personal poems, illustrations, and more is stunningly unique, and something you definitely don’t want to miss!


Useless Magic

Image via Amazon


Florence and the Machine formed in 2007 in London, consisting of Florence Welch, Isabella Summers, and a blend of other guest artists and musicians. By 2009 they’d released their debut album, Lungs, packed with the popular chart toppers Dog Days Are OverKiss with a Fist, and You’ve Got the Love, and rapidly gained international fame.


Since the start of her career, Welch has always brought something entirely otherworldly to the table; her voice acting as an instrument all it’s own, on par with the voices of artists like Kate Bush or Björk, giving her music a dream-like quality and creating a sound you recognize as hers the moment you hear it. Her past work has had a much bigger instrumental sound (including the use of wind chimes, drumming on multiple surfaces, bells, electric guitars, etc.) while her newest release, High as Hope, feels more stripped-down and raw; her voice feels more conversational, her lyrics more poetic. This is also the first album on which Welch herself is listed as the producer.


Listening to this album feels more personal; Welch has been open about much of the lyrics deriving directly from poems and journal entries (Hunger smacks you right from the get-go with it’s opening line, as does Sky Full Of Song with the bridge “I thought I was flying but maybe I’m dying tonight“) creating a listening experience that feels completely relatable and entirely human.


And now, with the release of Useless Magic, Florence Welch has taken the full dive into letting us truly see her inner world. Reading this collection feels as though you’re reading someone’s journal filled with their direct and most personal thoughts; not to mention the mystical, ethereal quality Welch is famous for seems to pour from within the pages, giving the collection a prophetic-like feel.


Useless Magic

Image via Amazon


This book is beautiful in how it shows someone as their most realistic, not-always-put-together self. Welch is open about her struggles with eating disorders, alcoholism, anxiety, and more; she writes of those who’ve hurt her, of the things she feels afraid of, of the things she feels ashamed for having done. There is no sugar-coating here, no rose colored glasses, nor smoke or mirrors. It’s the sort of work you’ll read and think, “oh my god, I’ve felt that way, too!”


Useless Magic is the more than simply another inside look at a successful artist and her musical process; it’s a look at someone in all of her graceless, messy, miserable, terrified, and fallible humanity. It’s clouded and scribbled and just so, completely gorgeous in how heartbreakingly relatable every word, note, poem, and illustration are. (Being a person is scary; none of us really have any idea what we’re doing or why we’re here or if we’re living our lives the way we were meant to, and Welch has been fearless in opening up about that.)


Useless Magic

Image via Amazon


Watching an artist blend poetry with music, and openly speak about the power poems and writing and words can hold, is so exciting. I’m a big believer that reading poems and writing your own (in whatever way feels right) can cause you to grow, shift, change, and realize thoughts and you feelings you never knew you had. Poetry can sometimes tend to gain a bit of a bad reputation as something boring and difficult to understand because of the way many school systems teach us to read poems from a technical, as opposed to emotional, standpoint; it’s refreshing to see someone who holds such a powerful place in the mainstream media release poems; now fans of Welch who may not have necessarily considered themselves fans of poetry before will be buying and reading a book of poems, and that’s insanely cool. (This all part of the poetry-community’s plan to get everyone in the world to read poetry, obviously. We’re after a poetry-ruled world, baby!)


Useless Magic will allow you to see someone in an intimate light we are rarely granted. You don’t want to miss this, order here! Also, be sure to check out Florence Welch’s Instagram-based book club, Between Two Books, now!


…a prediction comes true and I couldn’t do anything to stop it, so it seems like a kind of useless magic.




Featured Image Via Marie Claire UK


We Couldn’t Be More Excited About the Illustrated ‘Tales of Beedle the Bard’

Originally published in 2008, J.K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard is getting a gorgeous illustrated revamp in October of this year. Originally mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, this new edition will feature full-color illustrations alongside the original stories. 


The Tales of Beedle the Bard include five short stories, “The Wizard in the Hopping Pot,” “The Fortune of Fair Fortune,” “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Crackling Stump,” and most notably, “The Tale of the Three Brothers,” which was featured in both the Deathly Hallows book and movie.


Illustrator Chris Riddell has recently posted on his Instagram some previews of his upcoming work in the form of giant, colorful prints at an undisclosed book fair. 



Beedle The Bard Sampler.

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Beedle The Bard Sampler.

A post shared by Chris Riddell (@chris_riddell) on


Beedle The Bard Sampler.

A post shared by Chris Riddell (@chris_riddell) on

The deluxe collector’s edition of the stories are set to be published October 2nd of this year. 



Featured Image Via Instagram

fred and george that's rubbish

This Artist Is on a Mission to Illustrate Every Mythological Creature

Iman Joy El Shami-Mader has been drawing a creature a day since October 2017, and posting the illustrations on her Instagram


She told Atlas Obscura “It all started with the book Phantasmagoria—which is great—but there are many creatures that are only mentioned in passing or without any description at all.”



guys, one amazing thing after the other is happening and I’m serisouly just gobsmacked by it all?.. I cannot find the words to thank you all!❤️❤️❤️ . today another creature from the USA! here’s… Champ/Tatoskok . In American folklore, Champ or Champy is the name given to a lake monster supposedly living in Lake Champlain, a 125-mile (201 km)-long body of fresh water shared by New York and Vermont, with a portion extending into Quebec, Canada. The legend of the monster is considered a draw for tourism in the Burlington, Vermont and Plattsburgh, New York areas. Over the years, there have been over 300 reported sightings of Champ. Legends of a creature living in Lake Champlain date back to Native American tribes in the region. Both the Iroquois and the Abenaki spoke of such a creature. The Abenaki referred to it as “Tatoskok”. “Champ,” has allegedly been seen by hundreds of witnesses over the years. Descriptions of Champ vary, but most suggest a creature between 20 and 80 feet long, with a series of distinct humps on its back and a serpentine body. Some say the head looks like a snake or a dog. . Thank you Martin H. for telling me about Champ! . I was serious in my insta story btw – anyone know @realgdt … send him my way ?? . . . . . #phantasmagoria #creature #monster #champ #champy #lakemonster #monster #champlainlake #newyork #vermont #canada #serpent #snake #inkdrawing #drawing #illustration #fantasticbeasts #arkart #beautifulbizarre #blackwork #scales #bestiary #originalart #copicmarkers

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She has asked her Instagram followers to send her ideas of beasts to draw at mythical.creaturologist@gmail.com, and has received and drawn suggestions spanning many time periods and cultures, as well as several characters from fiction such as a porg from Star Wars: The Last Jedi and an Owlbear from Dungeons & Dragons.


El Shami-Mader began the project as a stress reliever while working five jobs.


I felt extremely drained and worn-out all the time. I really needed something to balance out the lack of creative expression I was feeling and to get my mind off things, at least for an hour a day… A few years back I did a series of fairytale illustrations and came across many amazing creatures, like the Bøyg in Per Gynt. Since I always wanted to deepen my knowledge about these creatures, I ordered the book Phantasmagoria by Terry Beverton and it arrived on my doorstep on September 30, just in time for me to begin a daily monster-drawing challenge I’d set myself for the month of October.


She says that she feels mythical creatures show “humanity’s need to have a reason for both good and bad things happening. Sometimes they are a ray of hope, the only thing able to cure an incurable illness; other times they bring plagues and death. They are wise helpful spirits, and they are malicious tricksters. It can also be really funny—you can tell that some only exist because of the bad descriptions the scholars wrote down.” 



had an extremely stressfull day catching up on all the work that piled up while I was living the good life on my mini-break in Vienna! so today I had very little time to get a good drawing done and as often, I’m really unhappy on how this little guy turned out… I’ll re-draw it soon, ’cause I do think the general idea can look nice! The Leshy . The Leshy (Russian: Ле́ший, IPA: [ˈlʲeʂɨj]; literally, “[he] from the forest”) is a tutelary deity of the forests in Slavic mythology. The plural form in Russian is лешие, leshiye (retaining the stress on the first syllable). As the spirit rules over the forest and hunting. Leshy are masculine and humanoid in shape, are able to assume any likeness[3] and can change in size and height. He is sometimes portrayed with horns and surrounded by packs of wolves and bears. In some accounts, Leshy is described as having a wife (Leshachikha, Leszachka, Lesovikha) and children (leshonki, leszonky). He is known by some to have a propensity to lead travelers astray and abduct children, (which he shares with Chort, the “Black One”) which would lead some to believe he is an evil entity. He is however also known to have a more neutral disposition towards humans, dependent on the attitudes and behaviours of an individual person, or local population, towards the forest. Some would therefore describe him as more of a temperamental being like a fairy. . . . . . . . . . . #leshy #creature #monster #demon #evilspirit #forestspirit #darkforest #darkart #darkfairy #fairy #beautifulbizzare #fantasy #myth #folklore #mythologyart #inkonpaper #ink #blackwork #blackworknow #illustration #originalart #bestiary #humanoid #copicmarkers #copic

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El Shami-Mader told Atlas Obscura that she would love to turn her illustration into a series of books, adding, “For now there is only an idea, but a friend of mine is a composer and we were thinking of collaborating on a trilingual ‘monsters set to music’ book. My current priority, however, is finding as many mythical creatures as possible.”


Read the full interview here, and check out her Instagram here



Illuyanka . In Hittite mythology, Illuyanka was a serpentine dragon slain by Tarhunt, the Hittite incarnation of the Hurrian god of sky and storm. It is known from Hittite cuneiform tablets found at Çorum-Boğazköy, the former Hittite capital Hattusa. The contest is a ritual of the Hattian spring festival of Puruli. The dragon was the symbol of the goddess and she was destroyed. In one version, the two gods fight and Illuyanka wins. Teshub then goes to the Hattian goddess Inaras for advice. Having promised her love to a mortal named Hupasiyas in return for his help, she devises a trap for the dragon. She goes to him with large quantities of food and drink, and entices him to drink his fill. Once drunk, the dragon is bound by Hupasiyas with a rope. Then the Sky God Teshub appears with the other gods and kills the dragon. . what are your favourite mythologies? which ones should I still check out?? . . . . . . . #phantasmagoria #creature #monster #snake #serpent #dragon #illuyanka #hittites #mythology #fantasy #fantasticbeasts #beautifulbizzare #darkart #ink #inkdrawing #drawing #originalart #blackworknow #blackwork #scales #bestiary #creatuanary2018 #legend #mythicalcreature #mythologyart #gods #goddess #teshub #hattusa

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Feature Image Via Iman Joy El Shami Mader