Illustrating Outside the Book: Artist Fred Blunt Breathes Life and Colour Back into Local Library

3 wall 1

When you think of children’s illustration, it’s only natural to think picture books, but the exciting thing about illustration is just how much you can do with it. Children’s illustrators do, primarily make picture books, but they’ll often do more where their schedule allows. They take part in all sorts of events, up and down the country, and they often share their skills closer to home — in their own community. This is exactly what Fred Blunt has done, and even better, it involves his local library:

FB: It all started when an artist friend of mine got in touch and told me that South Swindon Parish had taken over the Old Town Library, and were planning a renovation project.  What’s more, they wanted large scale, fun murals for the children’s area. He thought it would be relevant for a children’s book illustrator to pitch for the job.

1 thumbnails and roughs

Fred’s rough drafts before the final artwork, and the final designs below.

4 wall 2

At first I didn’t intend to pitch. The idea of taking the time out of of my picture book schedule to design and paint a mural seemed way too time-consuming.  But the idea of creating something just for children, in a library, on a big scale was very exciting to me – especially in the present climate of library closures.
[Read more about library closures in an article by The Guardian here]

I then thought, if I could find a company to install it using vinyl print, I could save a lot of time and potentially make it work. I did a little research and contacted local print company, Signs Express with my proposal.

Much to my surprise, they got in contact the very next day, enthused about the project and eager to be onboard.

5 print[1]

So I pitched my vision of a vibrant wall design, installed in vinyl print, instead of a traditionally painted mural. The Council library committee were quick to get in touch and discuss my ideas – all of which were enthusiastically received.

I went away with a vague notion of creating a bold and vibrant mural, which was going to be based on reading – showing the joy of books, and how they take you out of the everyday, and into the extraordinary.

13162E87-1CAA-4F6A-9602-7B95BA9FDAE7

Hot off the printing press!


I wanted the design to be appealing over the age groups, bright and fun for the very young, but also to have enough design elements to be considered cool for the older kids (and hopefully enjoyed by their parents too).

Early on, I wanted to achieve a ‘pop art’ look for kids  . . . a cartoony version of those bold Peter Blake designs, with the contained boxes of colour.  I also wanted the characters to have a retro appeal, so they would be timeless.

Sir-Peter-Blake_Sources-of-Pop-Art-4

Famous artwork by Peter Blake.


It was great fun designing each individual box, using limited colour, so that together, they would hang nicely as a bunch of interlocking, contrasting colours – creating an overall unity.

The committee were very open to my ideas.  They gave me free reign to do exactly what I wanted, which was wonderfully liberating! I even got to choose the colours of the walls and new carpets to compliment my designs.

8 installation

The installation itself, took only a day for the print team to complete, and I have to admit it was a nerve-wracking wait to see if the result would live up to my expectations — but quite honestly, they exceeded them.

The vinyl finish is great! No need to worry about mucky fingers and the colours are more vivid than I imagined — or could have ever achieved with paint. Exactly the bold graphic look I was after.

10 wall 1

9 wall 2[1]

It’s been a great project to be part of, and hopefully many children will enjoy the murals as they choose new books for a long time to come.

Untitled-1

Fred pictured next to the finished mural, and his children enjoying the books in the new space.


So if you live in the Swindon area, be sure to visit your local library!

With huge thanks to Fred Blunt. If you’d like to know more about Fred’s illustration and picture books, you can do so here:

Picture Book Funny Man: The Art of Fred Blunt

Fred Blunt puts the funny into children’s books, with his humour making both children and adults laugh. There’s something nostalgic about his style; animated, playful and with a warm palette, his pictures and characters tell the story, making his books an all inclusive experience. Here he talks about his journey, starting out as a working illustrator, covering a broad range of markets, to the present, where he works solely on picture books, much to the delight of his readers… [Continue reading]


You can follow Fred on Instagram and Twitter

If you’d like to work with Fred, you can get in touch via his agent, Arabella Stein here.

Kristyna Litten Illustrates Gracie Laroo

Kristyna Litten’s charming illustrations for the PIG-TASTIC Gracie Laroo series, written by Marsha Qualey have just been published by Capstone in the US. Gracie is a shooting star on the synchronized swimming team, the Water Sprites.

(more…)

Getting Emotional with Nod Young

 

Phosphor Art's Nod Young was recently commissioned to create a set of colourful and unusual emojis but unfortunately the project was cancelled half way through. Nod decided to carry on with the project for himself and made the emojis free to download. We think they're really fun!

 

 

 

(more…)

Alex T. Smith Illustrates The Tale of Angelino Brown

Written by the award-winning author, David Almond, The Tale of Angelino Brown, is a warm and witty tale with charming illustrations by Alex T. Smith, published by Walker Books. Alex had great fun depicting Angelino, the little curly haired angel’s antics in this wonderful children’s story.

(more…)

Frances Castle Illustrates Lands of Long Ago

Frances Castle’s full colour illustrations are a joy to behold in this fun non-fiction book with a twist. Spot the Mistake: Lands of Long Ago, published by Wide Eyed Editions, tests your knowledge of history by spotting 20 mistakes in every detailed scene.

(more…)

Mark Beech collaborates with Nosy Crow and The British Museum




Mark Beech has teamed up with acclaimed publisher Nosy Crow and The British Museum to create the hilarious Maurice the Museum Mouse’s book Amazing of Facts and Jokes. An assortment of facts and jokes from ‘rollicking Romans’ to amusing Aztecs - all things about the ancient that will make you and your friends laugh your heads off!

(more…)

Jean Jullien, Majestic Wines

We've had quite a boozy month here at HF, with Tom Haugomat's Stanley Brewing Beer illustrations, now we're proud to show off Jean Jullien's latest work for Majestic Wines. Jean created 10 stand alone images, without any name, logo or type, to buck the trend of conventional wine labels and to make them fun and playful.

(more…)

Garry Parsons – The Tooth Fairy’s Royal Visit

Garry Parsons has teamed up with the wonderful Peter Bently once again for ‘The Tooth Fairy's Royal Visit'. Published by Hachette Children’s Books, this hilarious sequel to the ‘Tooth Fairy’s Christmas’ is jam packed with Garry’s wonderful artworks, which are brimming with humour. Listed as one of the 20 best selling illustrators of 2016, this year promises to be another great success for Garry.

(more…)

September 2018
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Join the Society of Artist’s agents

but before you do, please read our criteria for joining here

Pin It on Pinterest