Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Beetle Boy




The Waterstones Children's Book of the Month for Feb was Beetle Boy! I'm only about half way through (all my reading time has gone way out of the window with only 5 weeks until my wedding! Aaah!!) but it's fab. I love it.

 It's written by M. G. Leonard and illustrated throughout by Julia Sarda. I only recently came across Julia's work and oh boy, it's magnificent. I'm a tad annoyed her name isn't on the cover, but hey ho, that's how things seem to go in publishing! Grr.

Incidentally, if you're interested in the topic of crediting illustrators, check out this piece of fantasticness: Pictures Mean Business by Sarah McIntyre. This woman never ceases to amaze me. Not only is she a great illustrator and a snazzy dresser (check out her outfits themed around her books) but she's giving a voice to the illustrator community in a way i've never seen before. Truly, a force to be reckoned with!

Anyway, I found this on M. G. Leonard's website, so i'll just leave this here:


But although I love the words and the pictures in this book (one of my favourite sentences being: He took off his safari hat, his hair springing up above his tanned scalp like a cloud of silver thoughts.) I have one little thing which bugs (har har) me a bit.

The main character, Darkus, is described as having his mother's Spanish looks, with dark skin and coal-black eyes. He also has his head shaved very early on in the book. Many of the characters he comes into contact with ask him about it, making little jokes regarding lawn mowers etc. So I find it a bit (and I do mean only a little bit) jarring when the images of him don't reflect his description in the book. I start to imagine him with the full head of hair he is drawn with, then someone comes along and says he looks like a hedgehog and my brain goes huh?

Does anyone else ever experience this when illustrations don't match your own personal image of a character or scene?

Saying this, I've always loved to see how people interpret things differently. Children's classics are such a rich area for this. There are so many different illustrated versions of The Wind in the Willows or The Secret Garden for example, that you can enjoy the same story over and over again, with a different atmosphere each time. Taking the latter (and Sarda again, because why not? She's fab!) you can fully understand the work of an illustrator and how each differing style can bring something new to the table:

Inga Moore (Another one of my favourites!)

Julia Sarda


Anyway, this was supposed to be a very quick post about the book i'm reading and a doodle what I did this morning! But I appear to have gone off on a tangent.

The point is, I did a little drawing of Darkus this morning, just to get out of my system the whole hair/no hair situation. Here it is. Have a good day everyone! x




My initial sketch / notes.




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