In­spired by sal­vador Dali

The devil re­ally is in the de­tail when it comes to chil­dren’s il­lus­trated books like Bug World...

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation -

Two of Nick Har­ris’s most com­plex projects were the Dragon Quest and Bug World puzzle books. Each project saw him paint­ing in­tri­cate dou­blepage spreads that were full of ac­tion-packed im­agery. For young read­ers, find­ing key de­tails in the im­ages cre­ates the story in their imag­i­na­tions. Nick took us on a tour of a strange spread found in Bug World.

The story is set in a theme park where gi­ant, ge­net­i­cally mu­tated in­sects es­cape their en­clo­sures when all the sys­tems fail. Read­ing it, the child is chal­lenged to find the nec­es­sary tools to re­in­state the se­cu­rity sys­tem be­fore the crea­tures es­cape from the park. The im­agery was cre­ated by lay­ing wa­ter­colour washes di­rectly over the inked line. The draw­ing was done first in pen­cil straight on to hot press wa­ter­colour board, which is pretty re­silient to re­peated use of the eraser with­out sig­nif­i­cantly de­stroy­ing the sur­face. The me­chan­i­cal ele­phant-walker was in the brief, but the de­sign was left up to the artist. “It af­forded a nice op­por­tu­nity to in­tro­duce a bit of Dali. His spindly-legged ele­phants from Swans Re­flect­ing Ele­phants are a won­der­ful bit of sur­re­al­ist es­capism,” says Nick. Two sci­ence boffins, who are re­spon­si­ble for look­ing af­ter the park, and a hap­less win­dow cleaner are left to face the rav­aging in­sects. The lat­ter re­peat­edly finds him­self in tight scrapes that he has to es­cape from. Hu­mour is an in­valu­able tool for en­gag­ing young and old minds alike. The main im­ages were orig­i­nally cre­ated at around 125 per cent of the re­quired size. This is done to help deal with the nec­es­sary com­plex­ity of the com­po­si­tions. This ex­tra scale was a boon for Nick in is artis­tic process, en­abling him to cre­ate an ex­tra-busy im­age just packed with fine de­tail.

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