Wednesday, 23 May 2007
I am working my way through a long list of illustrations for a GCSE History book, it's the fourth book I have illustrated in this particular series and I've learnt such a lot about 20th century USA, crime and punishment and medicine from neolithic times to the present day and now conflict and politics of the 20th century. Some things are obviously fun to illustrate - such as the squalid reality of a medieval street scene - I loved devising the scenes of market stalls and children playing in the mess on the river bank. But there are times when I have a list of maps and pictures which on first reading don't inspire at all - the Schlieffen Plan, the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the Six-day War, Blitzkrieg - I have to admit the prospect didn't fill me with inspiration! At times like this the only way is to work through the list in order and after a while I always get pleasure from the details - choosing a typeface and colours for the maps, researching clothing and hairstyles, etc. And then even a picture I was not looking forward to working on, such as Stuka dive bombers in a "blitzkrieg" attack, becomes a depiction of fields and trees and bridges; a choice and colours and textures - it takes a bit of work to find but there's always pleasure in the detail.