Friday, 29 January 2010

The Island at the Top of The World

In 1974, Disney brought out an adventure movie called Island at the Top of the World. I was about 12 or 13 at the time and I remember walking past this poster on the way to school every day whilst it was showing at the local cinema in Redruth. Actually, I didn't walk past it, I would stop for several minutes to admire the artwork. It's a shame I can't find a decent image of it on the net...or find out who the artist* was.

*Bryan Bysouth - as supplied by Steve Gardner (see comment below - thanks Steve!)

I now own a full size cinema poster for this but have never had the wall space to hang it up. One day maybe...

A man and his dog in Redruth contemplate whether Island at the Top of The World will be worth watching

The other version for the film below, is also a fabulous piece of movie artwork (although a bit of a spoiler if you look at the state of the airship in this one...). They just don't make 'em like this any more as the saying goes. More often than not the posters were better than the actual films.

click on image for a closer look

You can see more of Bryan Bysouth's work here.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Alfred Bestall

Rupert Bear Annual Cover 1936

Another of my children's book influences from the sixties was the magical work of Alfred Bestall who illustrated the Rupert Bear stories for the Daily Telegraph from 1935-1965. For me, the most stunning pieces of his work were the covers and endpapers of the Rupert Bear Annuals. To hold one of these annuals in your hands and study the artwork on the cover and then open the book to be faced with yet another watercolour illustration had the effect of instantly transporting you into another world.

The Frog Chorus by Alfred Bestall
Rupert Bear Annual Cover 1968

I particularly loved the Oriental influences (from his early childhood spent growing up in Burma) which mixed with his period depictions of rural Britain at the time created quite an original and exotic backdrop for the stories. He was also President of the British Origami Society for many years and you can often see this feature in his work.

I'm working on some of my own story and character ideas at the moment and I recently produced a personal Christmas card which to my mind makes more than a passing nod (or bow of respect, I should say) to dear old Alfred (he was 93 when he passed away).

click on image for a closer look

The idea started with the rat hanging up some Chinese paper lanterns which made me think of Alfred Bestall's work with Rupert.

As an aside, I often listen to the Radcliffe and Maconie show on BBC iPlayer when I'm working and whilst I was scribbling away on this illustration just before Christmas, I heard Mark Radcliffe mention that he had every Rupert Bear Annual since he was born and still gets one every year. He said something along the lines of "sitting down with a new Rupert Bear annual and a box of Maltesers just is Christmas". I think I know exactly what he means.

I emailed them a copy and it was mentioned on air apparently but I managed to miss it. I did get a personal email back from Mark though and he said "Loving the Bestall lanterns" which was nice.

Anyway, where did I leave that box of Maltesers?...