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 It has a most unusual format ~ sections of the text have been replaced by sequential images - soft pencil drawings, which move the plot onwards until a few pages of words are called for.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 :)