February 23, 2016

Miniature Sets

This week we're talking about illustrations created from photographing miniature sets. An illustrator creates each piece of the illustration on a stage, from the characters to the landscapes, and then photographs it. And the end result is absolutely stunning.

Butterfly Park by Elly Mackay is a great place to start. Mackay has a great page on her process for creating her illustrations that's very interesting and fun to watch. In Butterfly Park, a girl reluctantly moves from the country to the city, lamenting that she has to leave behind the natural beauty of the country, specifically the butterflies. When the girl sees one in her neighbor's yard, they work together to try to catch it, slowly befriending neighborhood kids along the way. Ultimately the entire neighborhood comes together to build a butterfly paradise next door to the girl's house, making the girl feel welcome and at home. The story is fine, but it's really the illustrations that bring this story to life in a major way.

A beautiful fold-out spread at the end
Next up is Miss Todd and Her Wonderful Flying Machine by Frances Poletti and Kristina Yee. This book is actually a companion piece to the award-winning stop-motion short film of the same name, so the illustrations in the book are technically stills from the movie. Like Butterfly Park, Miss Todd's creators staged the entire piece, building each character, floorboard, tree, and airplane from scratch and staging each scene/photograph. The illustrations in the book stretch to the outermost borders of each spread, drawing readers straight into this delicate, magical world. The lighting deserves special attention--there are so many dark sets but each is impeccably lit and shot. The story itself is just as inspiring, recounting the true story of Lily Todd and how she never gave up on her dream to invent and fly a plane. Take a look:

Yuyi Morales' Viva Frida rounds out this week's post. This bilingual book with incredibly sparse text explores the life of Frida Kahlo and the inspiration behind her paintings. The colors are breathtaking, perfectly embodying the spirit of Kahlo's own work, and the sets manage to be simplistic in concept but intricately detailed. The illustrations do have minimal digital enhancement, but it's used in a creative and purposeful way, and there are even some acrylic paintings thrown in during dream sequences. It's a great read, and following the story through the illustrations rather than the text gives the book a great reread value. She also has a lovely video about her process, specifically for this book.

That's it for this week! Make sure you're following me on Instagram to get see more illustrations from these beautiful books!

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