Gdynia Design Days is a local design festival happening in our city and this year it includes two small exhibitions of illustrated books for children, which, as you know, is totally our thing. We took our son and went to see the works by some of the most popular Polish illustrators of today. Even though we already knew most of the presented works, we still enjoyed seeing them together and the way the exhibitions were arranged and J had a real blast, making a mess: moving stuff around and ruining the careful arrangements. Luckily, nobody minded because, well, that’s what you expect from children in a gallery. If they don’t touch anything, they’re probably not having fun. (Sidenote: we wouldn’t let him touch stuff in the Louvre, don’t worry.)
A series of books illustrated by Joanna Bartosik.
A nice exhibition idea.
What Do We Travel by? (from a selection of one-off books)
Map-inspired lists of attractions for various Polish cities by Ładne Halo.
The Palace of Culture in 3D from Architekturki by Robert Czajka.
J just couldn’t get enough of this fox cutout, carrying it around the whole exhibition.
A selection of books to read and enjoy.
Paper animals, also by Robert Czajka.
Children enjoying an animation based on Iwona Chmielewska’s illustrations.
An illustrated labyrinth.
Last week we shared with you a book by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud about the ocean. But the first time we encountered a book by these artists was In the Forest, their beautiful and sad story about deforestation (and, luckily, re-forestation). It uses very ingenious techniques of paper engineering to talk in simple ways about the destruction of forests, still ending on a hopeful note. While the ocean book is probably more cheerful, this one, we feel, works more strongly.
(Also, as a not-irrelevant side note, consider not buying products with palm oil, if you feel the need to do something.)
Today let us share a beautiful book called Under the Ocean by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud.
The book is a mastery of paper book engineering, with each spread unfolding in two steps: first to show the situation on the surface of the ocean, where the boat Oceano is traveling. Then, with more impressive sculptural effects, we’re shown what’s underneath it. The 3D extravaganza is paired with beautiful, subtle illustration whose strength lies in just enough detail combined with subtle painterly effects and sensitivity.
It takes you on a journey through the richness of the ocean and while not as directly focused on the ecological message as their previous book about a forest (we’ll show you that one, too), it still manages to convey the beauty and the vulnerability of our oceans.
The cover of the Polish edition.
The boat is starting its journey.
Whales (the minimalist spread offsets nicely more busy spreads around it.)
Seals in the Arctic.
This is probably not exactly like seeing the coral reef but what a beautiful approximation.
It is the time of holiday traveling but this year we only travel with our finger on the map. So it is at least good to have a set of nice maps to do this and the one we want to share today is a book by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielińscy, who (almost) literally drew the whole world.
Maps is a large-format illustrated book for children (but also quite interesting for adults) and it’s full of, well, maps. Each chapter starts with a map of a continent and then shows maps of selected countries. For each country the map is covered with local animals, foods, clothes, customs and other surprises.
The beauty of this book is in its scope and detail. You can spend quite a lot of time looking for things you missed before. Mizielińscy also design typography for their illustrations (you can even buy those fonts) so the typographic part of the book is carefully designed. All in all, if maps are your thing, you should give this book a try, at least to acknowledge the impressive effort. (Fair warning though: it is a bit eurocentric. But it still has a lot of material on the rest of the world so don’t be discouraged.)
Our version that we’re showing is in Polish but there are other translations out there: here is Amazon’s link to the English version and here is an activity book based on Maps (we don’t have this one though; but if you do, let us know if it’s good).
Great Britain. Europe is given a loving treatment but, well, we understand.
Sweden and all the famous Swedes.
France and examples of French fauna.
Close-up on Egypt.
And the US.
With a bit of Mexico.
And off to the cold areas.
Which have huskies.
Flags of the world’s countries.
As it seems unlikely that we will be doing any more travelling this holiday season, instead we are remembering one of our previous trip, the one to London, with a charming book called, well, A Walk in London.
The book is by Salvatore Rubbino and includes spreads on all the well-known tourist attractions as viewed by a little tourist, the main character in the book.
We really like the illustration style of the book: on the one hand, it’s very light – it recalls the freshness of a child’s drawing (something many illustrators try to do). On the other hand, this is clearly not a child’s drawing: in its color scheme and page compositions it has the sophistication of an adult artist.
Title page. Thames is definitely the axis around which the book is built.
A map, always an interesting design part of such books.
The typography is a bit messy, which seems to be popular in children’s books these days. It doesn’t work for all books but here it adds to the liveliness of the spreads.
We loved Tower of London! It’s such a cool place.
And yes, there is a foldout with the panorama of the Thames bank and the multiple attractions one can find there.
And the index (with its over-the-top typography).
As long as we’re not doing any actual travelling, reading about it, especially in books which we can share with J, is the second best thing.
Yes, we’re back. We came back in the middle of the mess our renovations are still causing and it was also the end of the semester, which meant grading, so yep, in short we missed an update – sorry! However, it’s time for the traditional round of “The Books We Bought While Away.” This time, though, it’s going to be a short round, guys.
Truth of the matter is, we bought exactly two books. (We saw a few other interesting things but we ended up ordering them on Amazon afterwards. We’ll share when they arrive.) The first one was the kind we always buy instead of postcards and other souvenirs: a pop-up illustrated panorama. You saw them before on our blog and here’s the Berlin edition:
Illustrations by Sarah McMenemy.
One of the few attractions we actually managed to see (but not the most exciting one).
We only saw Alexanderplatz through the train’s window.
But we did get to walk through a huge part of the Tiergarten.
And another book we bought was actually a gift for our son and it quite enchanted us. It’s a small picture book about a mouse and a hedgehog who live in a garden and grown different plants. It’s printed with water paints on eco-carton, which we condone wholeheartedly, and it’s a lot of fun.
The toys come from our home collection. J has a lot of hedgehogs because of his name and he really loves rodents so the characters in the book were already a good match.
Our school German is virtually non-existent but it suffices to read this book.
The paper is naturally gray so that white elements have to be printed onto it and it gives the book a pleasant, natural, a little old-fashioned feeling.
And that’s it, not the most fruitful trip in this respect but we were spending a lot of time at the conference and the only exciting bookstore we found in the city was closed for a national holiday.
We wrote more about Typo Berlin here, should you be interested for some reason.