February 28, 2013

PIE BOOKS 2: Katsuji Wakisaka: Japanese Textile Designer

... the subtitle goes on: "Marimekko, SOUSOU, and 10,000 Postcards to His Wife".

PIE BOOKS again with Katsuji Wakisaka, another famous Japanese textile designer working for Marimekko (since 1968). In Japan he founded SOUSOU (in a team of three), an apparel brand based in Kyoto (there is an US online store.)

Many of the designs for his brand start as a sketch on a postcard (image above). Wakisaka has made more than 10,000 postcards until now and each one has been sent to his wife.

February 26, 2013

PIE BOOKS 1: Fujiwo Ishimoto Works - Textile and Ceramic

Japanese publisher PIE International/PIE BOOKS provides a wide range of graphic design and art books. One of my all-time favourites has been published by PIE. And their current catalogue is full of great looking novelties. Unfortunately they are not too generous with review copies, so I will show you a choice of lovely promotional images (and add those titles to my wishlist). More about PIE and how to order a copy here and here

Fujiwo Ishimoto is a Japanese textile and ceramic designer, living in Finland for more than 40 years. He is best known as a designer for Marimekko (he worked for the Finnish brand since 1974 and made over 300 designs) and Arabia (since 1989). "Fujiwo Ishimoto Works" has been released in December in Japan and in February in Europe.

(Fujiwo Ishimoto Works: Textile and Ceramic, Japanese with English foreword, 192 pages, PIE International/PIE BOOKS, ISBN: 978-4-7562-4301-0)

(All images: PIE International/PIE BOOKS)

Two more posts about PIE BOOKS coming up.

February 20, 2013

Interview with Claudette Halkes and Annemarieke Piers from Snor Publishers

I came across Dutch publishing house Snor formerly via Bloesem and had bookmarked their site for ages, but never had a closer look. When they emailed me some time ago I finally browsed their catalogue and found so so many lovely books, it felt really hard to decide, which one I want to show you. Fortunately there are also some English and German books. So let's take a look at those lovely ones first.

Cheerful in 3 1/2 months is a fun little book which provides one tip each day to make you smile and have fun. It is very beautifully illustrated by Sue Doeksen.

The Voucher book for women with illustrations by Sandra Isaksson follows the motto: "A voucher says more than a thousand words if you read between the lines". It's fun and could be very useful ;)

Also I want to share their brand new title in German Selbst angebaut (in Dutch: Zelf Geoogst) by Marian Flint and Studio Boot (illustrations and cover). Inside this book you'll find instructions for the super easy gardening-in-a-box-method (Obstkistenmethode) that allows everyone to grow its own stuff only with the help of a few boxes, potting soil, and seeds. All combined with matching recipes which can be cooked in not more than 30 minutes. Spring is coming!

Snor publishers is a small company, based in Utrecht, Holland. The two founders of Snor are Claudette Halkes and Annemarieke Piers. Since their website is in Dutch (they work on an English version to be published soon), I had the idea to bundle all my questions about their work and publishing house together in a brief interview. Look out for their great links to illustrators and agencies!

What were the main reasons for you to start your own publishing house in 2006? And what are you most proud of since then?

Before we started our own publishing house, we were freelance journalists. We wrote a lot for magazines and also wrote some (successful) books for other publishers. But then we wanted to be part of the whole business, not only the writing. We wanted to think about the subject of a book, illustrations and the design as well as marketing deals. So that's why we started with our first book Sewing and the like. It was a big success immediately, but in the end being a publisher was a whole lot more difficult than we thought.

(Photos: Anne de Leeuw)

How do you develop new book projects? How do you find the best authors and illustrators for them? Or does it goes the opposite way and they find you?

Normally we invent the ideas and develop the concepts of the books. We have an idea and discuss it with each other. About what writer suits best, which illustrator we think suits best for this book and the kind of book we have in mind with the new idea. We have a circle of illustrators and authors we work with. Sometimes we see beautiful work on the internet, or we stumble upon somebody or work that we like or that touches us. For example, we were looking for a hotel in London to visit the London Bookfair and we discovered the hotel the Hempel. Way too expensive for us, but we saw ceramics from an illustrator: Yasmin Sandytia. We sent her an e-mail if she wanted to work with us and she said yes! 
A lot of people send us their work, but we only work with people whose work we find really beautiful, maybe a bit edgy and 'new'. We both have the same taste, the Snor-taste, so even working with different illustrators and designers, our books still have the same look and feel.

You sold the rights of two titles to Germany recently (Relax Mama and Liebe Mama). Which books will be published next in German? Are there any further titles planned in English?

This month our book Selbst angebaut is being published in Germany (Edel:Books), in April there will be the Pregnancy book for men (Coppenrath) and in fall the book Cheerful in 3 1/2 months will be published by Droemer.
In English we have: Voucher book for women and 3 little booklets with each 7 recipes and 7 illustrations, you can send the booklet as it is as a present to someone for a special occasion. All three are illustrated by different illustrators. Very cute.

(Illustrations: Sue Doeksen)

You work in a team of two. How do you split up responsibilities?

Well, we talk about the things we have to do, and divide it then. We talk a lot behind our desks, about Snor, about decisions we have to make, about everything.

  (Illustrations: Sandra Isaksson)

What's your favourite part of the job? What do you like most about working with books?

It's great to invent an idea for a new book or serie, to feel something special, think: Yes, this is a good idea! We usually make books we would like to buy ourselves. We sometimes look for a book, don't find it and then think: alright, we should make that book. And when making the book it's a great process to work together with the designer and the author. To make something new together. To work on the project together and in the end there is a book! It's so nice to feel that a book is really good. When it looks nice, when it has a good content. And of course it is very nice to see that people love a title as well. And it's also a great feeling to sell a lot of books ;-) to know that apparently other people like our books as much as we do.

Do you have any favourite illustrators you want to highlight here and now?

That's difficult, we cannot choose because we like all our graphic designers and illustrators. They all have special assets. We can name a few:
* Job, Joris and Marieke did a great job on the illustrations of the book “That's why” and Pregnancy book for men.
* Caroline Ellerbeck did lovely illustrations for two books, one for a company and the other being Baby Scrapbook.
* Studio Boot: They made Selbst angebaut and the covers of our big hits: the Soup Calendar and the dessert calendar (for now only in Dutch, but there is a German publisher interested!). There will be a book about them in Germany this year (published by another publisher).
Sue Doeksen illustrated the book Cheerful in 3 1/2 months. She is a super talented illustrator. She will give some workshops at Pictoplasma in Berlin this year.
Kamer 465 is a styling agency and the owner is Anya van de Wetering. She is an illustrator as well. We already made some culinary books with them (like the Soup Calendar).
* Maartje Kuiper is one of the first illustrators we worked with and still work.
Studio Pomp run by Moniek Paus: She is a young illustrator, but she did a great job with the book Relax Mama which is published in German and will be published in France this fall as well.
* Studio 100 procent, really good agency. They also make the magazine flow.

Thanks a lot to Claudette and Annemarieke for sharing their experiences in this interview and giving us so many inspirational links. I really enjoyed exploring all of them!

You can order Snor books via their website: www.uitgeverijsnor.nl or amazon.com.

February 16, 2013

Frankie and Kate Pugsley

As you might know I have a digital subscription for Australian frankie magazine. So this week a new issue arrived in my mailbox via zinio.

 (Cover: painting by Kate Pugsley)

The cover painting is by Kate Pugsley, a painter, illustrator and printmaker living in Chicago. And these beautiful prints are from her etsy shop. Take a look!

(Illustrations by Kate Pugsley)

She runs a blog and flickr photostream

February 14, 2013

Lilli Loge: Lies Die Kind

Lilli sent me this great comic last week. And I'm very happy to share it with you now. The comic’s title can be read in German and in English with meanings in both languages. In German "lies" is an imperative, therefore the title means something like "Read the child". Starting with the hole in the cover and the falling girl the short story develops a very strong attraction. So it's hard to escape the subtly drawn images once you've turned a page. Every spread is very well thought out and though the comic has only 12 pages it provides a lot of "Denkstoff".

The black and white comic deals with the subject of speechlessness as a result of repressed memories. In the artist's words: "The comic portrays the strange and probably rare condition of being aware of the existence of a traumatic experience while being unable to remember it. The loss of speech and the attempt to regain it form the comic’s main narrative, leaving us with the final question as to whether repression and half-knowledge might not be a fruitful part of the healing process and have their own importance and validity."

"Lies die kind" has been self-published by Lilli Loge with a circulation of 500 copies. To order a copy please visit her website. Over there you can watch a making-of video, actually you'll get the comic hand-ripped by Lilli. Originally the story was planned to be part of a trilogy. The first volume "My day off" has been printed in September 2012. A third more extensive volume will follow.

Comic-artiste Lilli Loge is living and working in Berlin. She is member of Chicks on Comics and runs the blog Comic Sport. Much more about Lilli and her work here.

February 08, 2013

Kate Banks and Georg Hallensleben: The Bear in the Book

I ordered this book because of the beautiful pictures by Georg Hallensleben. And they are v e r y beautiful. Hallensleben illustrated Kate Bank's gentle story with his typical thick brushstrokes and dense colours. Not so beautiful was the bookjacket. I put it away ...

The lovely story is about a little boy and his mum reading a book about a big black bear (like the one on the cover of the book the reader holds in his hand) who hibernates while the life goes on outside his den. While listening to the words and watching the pictures the boy falls asleep himself. It's a very peaceful and atmospheric book, perfect for sharing at bedtime. Georg Hallensleben did a whole bunch of great children's books together with author Kate Banks like The Night WorkerFoxThe Great Blue House. Both are living and working in France.

February 05, 2013


The FROH! magazine #9 is out and as beautiful as the other 8 issues. Take a look for yourself:

(Images: Harald Voelkl)

All pictures are by Harald Voelkl. Here it goes to their flickr stream with many more images. And please head over to their website to order a copy to read or just to enjoy, if you don't speak German ... There you'll find a very nice video as well by Thomas Nathan. I wrote about FROH! Magazin before here and here.

February 01, 2013

Die ABC Zeitung

I came across the ABC magazine recently via this book by Anne Geelhaar and Erich Gürtzig. The author and the illustrator worked both for the Eastern German magazine. Founded in 1946 the "ABC Zeitung" was the first children's magazine in the German Democratic Republic.

As an organ of the Free German Youth (FDJ) it contained propaganda inserts with a portrait of General Secretary and Head of the State Erich Honecker for instance (issue 9/1979) alongside illustrated games, card kits and comic strips by popular illustrators/authors like Erich GürtzigIngeborg FriebelWalter Krumbach ("Sandmann, lieber Sandmann").

All scans are from the website www.ddr-comics.de run by Guido Weißhahn who is doing a great job collecting DDR comics to present them on his site.