The haunting illustrations of Eva Bednarova: Chinese Fairly Tales.

Here is another fabulously illustrated book I would like to share with you: Dana and Milada Stovichkova’s “Chinese Fairy Tales” illustrated by Eva Bednarova. This is a treasure of a book.mirror_crop


Errol Le Cain’s Cinderella: A World of Beauty in the Detail

Here is a magical book for you to have a look at: Cinderella by Errol Le Cain. This process of sharing my favorite illustrators has helped me realise how profoundly they have influenced me . When I am asked what my influences are, I tend to think about serious fine artists. Audrey Beardsley maybe? But in all honesty, it is people like Errol Le Cain who have shaped the way I look at things.

I wish I could draw like Errol Le Cain! Here is Cinderella doing her embroidery under the watchful eye of her stepmother and stepsisters. More

A Darker Keeping: The Highwayman

Illustrator Charles Keeping had a dark side, always just beneath the surface of his work. Compare the work he did in “Joseph’s Yard” with “The Highwayman”, the famous poem by Alfred Noyes. The Highwayman is a satisfyingly Gothic love story of a highwayman and “Bess the landlords red lipped daughter”. You can read (or listen to) the poem here. The poem has a urgent rhythm that drives it along – its the kind of poem you feel compelled to read out loud:

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.


writer/illustrator Charles Keeping: Joseph’s Yard

Charles Keeping was a powerful force in my childhood. I was scared and fascinated by his books . The drawings burn on the page, and the stories cut into your heart. I was deeply influenced by his drawing style – that muscular scrawl with ink and wash. In this post I want to share one particular book: “Joseph’s Yard” which I grew up knowing as “Josef se plant”, in its Afrikaans version.


writer/illustrator Elizabeth Enright

Here is yet another children’s author who illustrated her own books.

Elizabeth Enright: the perfect writer for children. Her books create a world of utter joy, salted with enough realism to make it possible for you to link them to your own life.


What is it about stories?

I recently came across this quote in an interview with fantasy author Garth Nix – speaking about the importance of a moral message in children’s books:

“I subscribe to the belief that if you want to send a message, use Western Union.”

This reminded me of the famous Tolkien quote, from his introduction to The Lord of the Rings:

” I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence.”

And yet when stories deal with the issues we have to face in our lives, we feel the rightness of it. More

Pauline Baynes

Since I am indulging myself by writing about my most loved children’s writers – and also illustrators – how can I miss out Pauline Baynes. Here is a really interesting interview with her, by Charlotte Cory.


from The Manhatten Rare Book Company


Michael Ende

Writing about Cornelia Funke reminded me about Michael Ende – whom most people seem to know through the film version of the book “The Neverending Story”. I found this lovely version of the cover by Roswitha Quadflieg. I have not been able to find any other images by her.


from through the magic door


Niki Daly’s talk at the Obs library

Last night I went to illustrator/writer Niki Daly’s talk at the Observatory library : “How to travel lightly with 60 years of baggage”. I am so glad I went. Niki Daly told us about his journey through life, from working class child growing up in apartheid South Africa to an established illustrator – and how this journey has brought him to do the work he does.


Cornelia Funke Author/Illustrator

Cornelia Funke is another favourite author / illustrator. I’ve enjoyed many of her books – most of them for children, like “Dragonrider” and “The Thief Lord”. But I want to write about are her not-quite-children’s books, the “Inkheart” series.


Philip Pullman- illustrations

I couldn’t very well write about Steve Augarde as author / illustrator and leave out Philip Pullman, who has written some of my favourite books: the “His Dark Materials” series.


Steve Augarde – “The Various”

I’ve just used my birthday gift voucher from Vega to buy the latest in Steve Augarde’s “The Various” series. He is an illustrator – writer. Here is a link to his site.This is the third book in the series, called “Winter Wood”

It follows on from “The Various” and “Celandine”. These books have overcome my severe (trance scene induced) prejudice against anything to do with fairies, little folk, pixies and so on. More

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