17 April 2019
Books received #37
Angie Lewin’s pebbles; Mark Andresen’s dogs; Lukas Novotny’s Modern London; R. Crumb’s dreams; the scrapbooks of Eric Ravilious
Here is a selection of illustration-related titles that caught our attention in recent weeks.
Spreads and cover from Mark Andresen’s version of The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog.
Top. Drawing by Angie Lewin from The Book of Pebbles.
Designer and illustrator Mark Andresen (see ‘Pesky illustrator’, a profile of Mark Andresen in Eye 67) has made a touching version of Eugene O’Neill’s The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog (Gingko Press, $12.95). The book includes Andersen’s ink drawings of a wide variety of faithful friends, from a tiny Chihuahua to a Doberman Pinscher. O’Neill’s 1940 prose poem was dedicated to his ‘faithful friend’ Blemie, a picture of whose gravestone is included in the casebound book.
Cover, back cover and spread of Lukas Novotny’s Modern London.
Written, illustrated, and designed by Lukas Novotny, Modern London (White Lion Publishing, £14.99 / $18.99) is an illustrated tour of the English capital’s ever-changing landscape. In addition to the city’s architectural hallmarks, such as Neave Brown’s Alexandra Road Estate or John Outram’s Isle of Dogs Pumping Station, Novotny’s tour also covers the more day-to-day designs often taken for granted: a Bus Lane, for example, first introduced as an experiment on Vauxhall Bridge in 1968. Published by White Lion Publishing, an imprint of The Quarto Group, this colourful, detailed survey guides the reader stop-by-stop through the century in which London ‘became modern’.
Spread and cover from R. Crumb’s Dream Diary.
A rather weighty, hardback volume, R. Crumb’s Dream Diary (Elara Press, $25) is about as unnerving as one might expect from Robert Crumb, the American illustrator most widely known for his contribution to the ZAP Comix series (see ‘In my honey’s loving arms’, a review of Crumb’s Gotta Have ’Em in Eye 48). Featuring a cast of characters that range from family members to Victor Moscoso, Crumb’s dreams, here transcribed into a series of semi-regular entries, exhibit the kind of unencumbered prose typical of Crumb’s style. While those seeking his archetypal cartoons may be left wanting (only a handful are included) readers might just find that the text is enough.
Cover of The Book of Pebbles.
The Book of Pebbles by Christopher Stocks and Angie Lewin (Random Spectacular, £15) is a poetic collection of facts and thoughts on the subject of pebbles, which may have taken root in an article Stocks wrote for the much admired Things Magazine in 2004. (Stocks also lives near Chesil Beach for part of the time, which gives him a special perspective.)
Spread from The Book of Pebbles.
Counterpointing the prose is a series of subtle and moving illustrations by Angie Lewin. Though Lewin uses many different media – watercolour, wood engraving, linocuts and collage – for her images of shells, leaves, ferns and of course pebbles, her muted colour palette is consistent and entirely personal, taken directly from the natural world she depicts with complete sincerity.
Cover of Eric Ravilious: Scrapbooks.
Eric Ravilious (1903-42) is another illustrator with an unmistakable sense of colour, and one whose popularity seems to grow with each year. Most of his admirers will know his catalogue backwards by now, but Eric Ravilious: Scrapbooks (Lund Humphries in association with The Fry Art Gallery, £40), by Peyton Skipworth & Brian Webb, brings together sketches, reference images torn from newspapers, photographs and other ephemera.
Several pages are devoted to the work of Tirzah Ravilious, his talented, underrated wife (see ‘The crew with no name’ in Eye 95). The generous format makes it a companion to the same authors’ Edward Bawden Scrapbooks (see ‘Friendships and glue’ on the Eye blog).
Spreads from Eric Ravilious: Scrapbooks.
Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.