Saturday, 26 January 2008

Moving still pictures

WHILST EMBROILED in storyboarding the animation, I came across a review in the sunday paper about a book just published by Scholastic - The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. So intrigued was I that I ordered it from amazon and have just finished "reading" it. It has a most unusual format ~ sections of the text have been replaced by sequential images - soft pencil drawings, which move the plot onwards until a few pages of words are called for. The pages are all edged in black which gives you a feeling of being let into a great secret when opening it.
The story, which is based in 1930s Paris, follows a young orphan boy and thief - Hugo - and tells of clockmakers, trains, magicians, mysterious drawings and, to my great delight, an automaton. Selznick was much influenced by early cinema and indeed includes Georges Méliès - French filmmaker and special effects pioneer - in the story. I was particularly interested in this method of storytelling because the laying out of images in a sequence to tell a tale without words is something I must learn more about in my making of animations ...





This book led me to another exquisite book without words ~
The Arrival a Hodder publication by Australian illustrator Shaun Tan. This is told entirely with lovely sepia pencil drawings and conjures a strange yet not strange other world. I've not known much of Shaun Tan's work until now .. so will investigate his other books further. Any other recommendations and suggestions of similar books would be most welcome.




Automata spark my imagination no end so the tale of the automaton in The Invention of Hugo Cabret was a treat... Selznick based his automaton on a wonderful creation built by Henri Maillardet in 1800 which could write and draw. It was a marvellous feat of engineering that was restored to its former glory after being damaged in a fire:



Well... thus inspired I go to my drawing desk... the rain is relentless outside and the fire just lit...


NB: all images from the books are nicked off the web and copyright Brian Selznick & Shaun Tan - hope they don't mind :)

7 comments:

Joel Stewart said...

The Red Tree by Shaun Tan is very very wonderful. Not personally a big fan of Hugo Cabret though...

Gail said...

Hi Rima
Very interesting post and videos - I've added those books to my Amazon wishlist - I remember seeing Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret in a book shop and then forgetting the name so thanks for the reminder.
-Gail X

Alison said...

I hope the storyboarding is progressing well.
Take care,
Alison x

Jess said...

What wonderful inspiration you'd been led to! I love the idea of a 'grown-up' book with pictures telling the story, I'm going to have a look myself!

Elizabeth said...

Sounds really interesting.

Erica said...

I'm a fan of Shaun Tan's work - two more of his books to look at are "The Lost Thing" and a collaboration with Australian writer John Marsden called "The Rabbits" - it doesn't take much stretch of the imagination to link "The Rabbits" with the effect of white immigration into Australia, very thought provoking.

Susan said...

Your work is just magical ... I've actually just discovered your blog and have been reading back through it over the last few days. You asked of suggestions of books that have no text at all ... well, The Red Book by Barbara Lehman is such a book. A children's book with no words. It's quite delightful. Her work is not quite in the minor key that yours is, but I love the openness of a tale told with no words.