May 28, 2013

Katrin Stangl: Denkt euch nur, der Frosch ist krank

I wanted this for a long time. Award-winning illustrator Katrin Stangl chose and illustrated children's rhymes (in German). "Denkt euch nur, der Frosch ist krank" has been published by Jacoby & Stuart in the series Kunterbunt edited by Armin Abmeier.

  I wrote about Katrin Stangl before. This is one of my favourites.

May 23, 2013

Katrin Wiehle: Mein kleiner Wald

Today the most beautiful German books 2013 have been announced by Stiftung Buchkunst! One of the winners and my favourite: "Mein kleiner Wald" by Katrin Wiehle. The jury highlighted its matte cover and pages and the earthy colours in contrast to all the shrill-coloured ambience of our daily environment. It's her second title which has been chosen as one of the most beautiful books. Katrin Wiehle's book "Professor Pfeffers tierisches Abenteuer" was selected in 2010. Both are published by Beltz & Gelberg.

(All images via

May 21, 2013

Notebooks by Happily Ever Paper

Great notebook design from Istanbul. Happily Ever Paper are very imaginative when it comes to creating notebooks. You can purchase the award-winning Punktum notebooks with perforated covers online via R.S.V.P. Berlin for instance.

PUNKTUM: Every Dot Counts, 17 x 20 cm
Incognito, 10 x 15 cm, 13 x 19 cm 
Selfbook: Made in Hands, 22 x 22 cm, 160 sheets
Shape Of My Art, Package with 7 notebooks

May 17, 2013

Eva Janikovszky and László Réber: Weißt du es auch?

Another flea market find and one more beautiful book by Janikovszky/Réber. "Weißt du es auch?" (Did You Know, Too?) has been first published in 1963. I wrote about the Hungarian author Eva Janikovszky and illustrator László Réber before. Recently their books were re-edited in French by La Joie de Lire and in German by leiv.

May 14, 2013

Václav Sivko: Herr Korbes

There are a lot of flea markets in Munich currently so I come upon quite a few new vintage books. This one I found last week. "Herr Korbes" (Mister Korbes) is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm. The book is illustrated by Václav Sivko. The original text in Czech is by Kamil Badnár. As in many Grimm tales the story is rather cruel. At least in this children's book which has been published in 1960 Herr Korbes is "only" attacked and chased away from his home whereas in the original text "a millstone ... struck him dead" in the end ... 

(Kamil Bednàr/Václav Sivko: Herr Korbes, Artia 1960)

May 06, 2013

Interview with Cinzia Ruggieri

Italian artist/illustrator Cinzia Ruggieri is as passionated about illustrated books as I am, so we thought it would be a nice idea to interview each other and share this with you. Visit Cinzia's blog for her interview series, including one with me. Cinzia is the founder of Tictoctac, a small independent art and design studio, based in a hidden garden somewhere in Catania, Sicily. There she makes the prettiest hand-bound notebooks, cards, art prints and illustrations, in limited editions. The language of all her work is very simple and poetic. I especially like her soft coloured paintings.

Please tell me more about your working space. Where have all these lovely things been created?

CR: My studio was part of my grandparents’ home. Despite being in the city it is tucked away in a small garden between the buildings, and it is quiet and bright. In addition it is linked to my childhood and my loved ones, so it is a very special place for me where I work with joy. Normally it is quite messy above all the room where I paint, but always peaceful and inspiring.

Over many years you've been working as an author and illustrator of children's books. After your kids grew up, you decided to study again. What were the main reasons for you to restart and launch your own studio in 2011?

CR: First of all I felt the need to experiment with new challenging techniques and materials and to discover new points of view. Tictoctac has arrived along with the new space for the studio. Before that, I worked at home and I had just a small room where it was impossible to accommodate a printing press or tools for screen printing. The larger space gave me the push also to open up to collaborations with other artists, even with experiences very different from my own. I think I can say that everything is in progress in my new venture, lots of things still have to find a form but at the base of it all is the need to open up, to take risks, to experiment.

Could you please describe a normal day of work in your present life? How do you get your daily dose of inspiration?

CR: Normally I work from 10.30am till late afternoon with just a break for lunch. But on some days I walk and I take pictures, or I read … and sometimes I do apparently nothing at all … Inspiration comes above all from everyday life, but also from my dreams and of course from work.

You told me about your friends Diletta and Chiara who just opened a fantastic book store in Milan, specialized in books with pictures and images of all kinds. What are your favourite picture books?

CR: Picture books are still a great passion of mine, I love to discover new illustrators and to follow the ones I prefer, like Beatrice Alemagna, Chris Haughton, Jon Klassen (I love so much "This is not my hat"!), and Wolf Erlbruch, just to mention some. I love picture books with good stories and rhythm both in text and images, where children are treated as persons and their complexity is respected. If I have to choose the perfect picture book for me I would say: "Little blue and little yellow". I love obviously all the works of Leo Lionni, but this book is  t h e  book in my opinion: It has a perfect balance between text and illustrations, the story is as essential as the illustrations and at the same time it is rich and deep in its content and in its relations with contemporary art.

Tictoctac notebooks and cards at the Knots Collective pop up store in London in 2012

What are you currently working at? What are your upcoming projects?

CR: I’m working right now on a new series of cards and prints for Tictoctac and I’m also collaborating with a friend, a painter and printmaker, for a new project: an investigation in two voices about nature and disappearance that we will be exhibited soon.

Thanks a lot to Cinzia for this interview!

Cinzia runs two blogs, one about her life, art and creativity and another dedicated to Tictoctac. If you want to purchase one of her prints, some cards or notebooks etc. you can do this easily via etsy or bigcartel.

Be sure to visit the site of Cinzia's friends Diletta and Chiara as well. They recently opened the wonderful Spazio b**k shop in Milan. It's a dream! I have to go to Milan some day just for this shop ... 

(Images via Cinzia Ruggieri)

May 02, 2013

Book Trailers by Orfeu Negro

I'm totally impressed by their book trailers. Lisbon-based publishing house Orfeu Negro started in 2007 with "A Arte da Performance" (Performance Art) by RoseLee Goldberg. In 2008 Orfeu Negro expanded their catalog with a series of great children's books called Orfeu Mini.
Computer animation and stop motion by illustrator and picture book maker Catarina Sobral. To see them all, click here or here.