The theme might be a cliché but it will always be one of the most relevant since the existence of mankind.
Curious to explore universal subjects, the Chinese born, Berlin-based graphic designer Yang Liu after the success of her previous book East Meets West has now depicted in the same minimalist style her new project ‘Man meets Woman’. Again keeping to the minimum the visual impact so the essence of the context could stand out, she uses two vibrant colours for the background – green for men and magenta for women, and black or white silhouettes. That’s it; simple and straightforward approach for such a complex issue
Like it or not, but there are differences between sexes we can’t ignore. Some are so difficult to comprehend that have led to a lot of misunderstandings and confusions. You know like those “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”. Two so close and yet totally diverse planets. These differences however are set by nature. We can’t go against them. We can only try having them in mind while getting nervous when the opposite sex reacts ‘strange’ or ‘unusual’. And Yang Liu presents them in quite a funny way – ‘best weapon’, ‘man/woman flu’, ‘he needs & buys/she needs & buys’, ‘single focus/multitasking’, ‘luggage’ …
She hasn’t omitted to illustrate also the other set of differences. Those that reveal the sad truth – the outdated traditional perceptions and prejudice about gender models that continue to influence many aspects of our modern life. We still live in an unequal world where our behavior is constrained by unofficial rules of the social and professional structures. Although funny at first sight, these problematic gender stereotypes show that there is still a long way to go to the mutual understanding and forbearance.
The book of Yang Liu is exactly how she imagined it – “I would like it to be the sort of book where you can laugh at yourself and be entertained, but also take it on board and exercise a little more tolerance when interacting with others”
Igor Oleynikov is a Russian children’s books illustrator born 1953. Like Sven Nordqvist he didn’t studied at art school but graduated instead the Institute of Chemical Engineering in Moscow. However, his destiny put him on the path of the animation, when in 1979 he started working for the Russian animation studio “Союзмультфильм” as an assistant-illustrator. A few years later he tried his talent in the book publishing, which gradually turned to his solely job and until nowadays he has illustrated an impressive number of children’s books published all over the world.
Todd McLellan’s idea of presenting dismantled products from our daily life deserves serious attention. First of all, because of the way the different parts of each item are photographed – in motion as air-explosion and in stillness, meticulously arranged as a gorgeous picture itself. The images of stillness reveals his great sense of design. They are really amazing. I couldn’t wonder how he organized all the particles not omitting even the smallest ones like nuts and bolts, showing the beauty of the product from another perspective. However, all these ordinarily products like typewriter, wall clock, telephone, camera, iPod, printer, and so many others, are not only portraits of our technology time, but also show us that there is a whole hidden world of functioning most of us have no idea about it. We have learned how to use and serve with the tools and usually not interested in delving in the deeper layers of how exactly they were made, and thus this project is as well a nice reminder not to take for granted even the world we have created
ALPHABETABUM? What does it mean? As the authors and illustrators of this newly published book, Chris Raschka & Vladimir Radunsky explained, this is an ALPHABET book with an ALBUM of old photos.
And actually it is what they state – a book of letters accompanied with vintage photos of children. Quite original way to help the kids in learning the alphabet. First, because the funny text below the letters describes the child associated with it in view of the pose, expression of the face or what wears or holds in the hands. Such an approach not only gives an individuality to each letter, but on the second place, makes the readers to fantasize stories about the depicted children. After all, with so many letters, we have a whole “neighborhood” full of children and finishing the book opens the door to an imaginary world where the kids could play with all those characters. And thirdly, unfortunately, this is probably their solely experience with such photos. With the new technologies only the professional photographers continue to care about the old-fashioned film, so they are already on their way of vanishing from our daily lives. Therefore, the book is not addressed only to the little ones, but it is a beautiful nostalgic look for their parents too.
Dinah Fried – Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals
Fictitious Dishes is a very unique link between the culinary moments and the contemporary and classic literature where they are mentioned. The author Dinah Fried imagined these moments and conveyed her vision through photographic interpretations. She re-created the meals as described in the books and styled them in a way to feel the ‘spirit of the story’. Moreover, choosing the perspective from above, she puts us, the viewers, in the position of the characters from the famous novels as they were eating these meals, making us present to their experience. Each image is accompanied also with the text from the book that inspired its creation. There are also interesting food facts and entertaining anecdotes about the authors, their work, and their culinary predilections.
Arthur Rackham – Cinderella in silhouette illustrations
Arthur Rackham was an English book illustrator born 1867 and died 1939. He is widely recognized as one of the leading illustrators from the ‘Golden Age’ of British book illustration, a period which encompassed the years from 1900 until the start of the First World War, but his works continue to be very popular even nowadays
Bunpei Yorifuji -Wonderful Life with the Elements: The Periodic Table Personified
Bunpei Yorifuji is a Japanese artist and writer well-known in his country for his series of humorous ads for the Tokyo metro. The world fame however came with his funny and quirky presentation of the elements from the periodic table. Picturing them in our human traits, he made them more understandable and easier to memorize. Most of us probably are not very keen on chemistry but this book opens a new vision in the education. Learning is much more productive when it is close to our lives, when there is something that looks familiar. Once you meet these characters, you could not forget them. Personification of difficult issues will not make us serious scientists but surely will help to understand them and keep in our brain cells for much longer period of time.
Sven Otto Rickard Nordqvist is a Swedish writer and illustrator, born 1946. His professional life is an inspiration for all who against all odds continue to believe in themselves and not give up chasing their dreams. He always wanted to be an illustrator, but because was rejected by several art schools he studied architecture instead. Nevertheless he couldn’t persuade the art schools in his talent, he never quit his plans to tell through his illustrations the heartwarming and touching story about the life of two charming personalities – the old farmer Pettson and his cat Findus. They live a quiet, ordinary life in a small farmhouse in the countryside but unexpectedly each of their days turns to an adventure. The 1st book was published in 1984 and up to date is followed by another nine stories and 6 million copies sold.
I couldn’t find an official site of Sven Nordqvist but his books are available at all famous bookstores.
Ella Frances Sanders is a young British artist who just turned twenty-one in 2014 but already in the spotlight. Her collection of beautifully illustrations feature words from cultures all over the globe that don’t have a direct English translation (and probably in the most other languages too). The 50 drawings are gathered in a book with the witty title “Lost in Translation“.