Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

Soph and I popped along to the Gruffalo exhibition a few weekends ago.
(Yes, there was a child in tow – it wasn’t just us being weird.)

Julia Donaldson’s work was cute, but the thing that I really fell in love with was the work of her illustrators, particularly Axel Scheffler.

Axel’s creative process and his relationship with his editor really interested me.
Here’s a snippet written by him:

I did the initial drawings of the Gruffalo in my sketchbook one afternoon. When I showed them to my editor she said the monster was too scary, so I softened him. At first I gave the mouse clothes, German lederhosen, but I changed that. I found the forest backdrop a bit of a struggle, perhaps because I am a perfections or perhaps because I used up all of my green and brown pens on the trees.

Here’s an early proof from the follow up to the Gruffalo, the Gruffalo’s Child.

And here’s one from Tabby McTat, followed by the finished proof.

I think this letter from his editor is a pretty decent example of how to give feedback to an artist.
Quite interesting.

And again, quite interesting to see the notes and feedback on the front cover of the book Monkey Puzzle.
(Note the switch in order of Axel and Julia’s name from the proof to the final edition…)

A couple of illustrators really stuck out for me.

David Roberts work was brilliantly odd.

Lydia Monks also really stuck out.
I really love her technique – using photographs of real materials to fill certain parts of the image.
I think the ram in particular is a nice touch.

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