Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The Art of P. J. Lynch

Especially for this month’s Bookworms Carnival hosted by Nymeth, this post is all about one of my favourite artist: P. J. Lynch.
Lynch is one of Ireland’s most accomplished and known illustrators. Probably *the* most. Ha has been honoured The Kate Greenaway medal twice, for When Jessie Came across the Sea (1997) and The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (1995), which are part of his more “realistic” works and are without a doubt remarkable.
But what I love about him is how he represents the world of fairy tales, myths and folklore. He puts so much passion and care and love into them, you can almost feel it. His illustrations are so stunning and skilful that they instantly makes you feel they belong to a higher level. They are the stuff classics are made of. That’s why they go so well with subjects related to myths and legends.
Lynch has an extensive gallery on his website. If you want to have a better idea of what I'm talking about, take a look. I'm just going to post some examples of my favourites (click on them to enlarge).

From Melisande:

From The Names upon the harp:

His work is so easy to love, so easy to feel comfortable with. Probably because it evokes the feel of those loved (and feared) fairy tales of everyone’s childhood. Only, I think I would have loved those stories even more if they had his illustrations.

The first P. J. Lynch’s book I came across was Catkin. As always, I was attracted by its cover. It reminded me of an art nouveau painting, a style I’m very fond of. When I looked inside I knew I had found a new favourite. The more of his work I see, the more I fall in love with it. The story itself draws on British folklore and mythology, reinventing them to create a tale which reads as though it had been told for centuries.

The next one I came across was Ignis. A story of an adorable young dragon and his quest of self-discovery. Another instant favourite.

The I discovered East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon, the Bee-man of Orn and the Name upon the Harp… All masterpieces.

I was lucky enough to be able to hear P.J. Lynch himself talking about his work and how every illustrations came to be, when he came into our shop for a public event. He had a projector and I assure you that those paintings shown on a wide screen are even more breathtaking. He told us that he doesn’t just love doing portraits of beautiful ladies, or cats or cute dragons. He has a great sense of horrid and creepy, which he likes to express in his images of witches, globlins and the like.

We got the sense of how much work and time goes into the creation of just one book. And of how much his work is revered and sought for. He is already booked in for years.
Even though I said I love his fantastical works more, I do appreciate the more realistic subjects, as well. They all have a sort of fairytale touch anyway.
The gift of the Magi, his upcoming work which should be out by next Christmas, looks like it's going to be just wonderful. The story is a sad and touching one, and I’m sure the book will be a great hit with everyone.

I just found out he has a blog, so I think I’m going to visit it regularly now! There’s lots of interesting entries, including a video that shows the process in the creation of cover for The Bee-man of Orn. Enjoy!

Finally, I want to share some more of some of my favourite paintings:

From Melisande:

From The Snow Queen:

and from The Names Upon the Harp:

That's it! I hope you enjoyed it. I certainly did :)


Melody said...

Oh my! The illustrations are beautiful!!! You've to stop recommending these great books to us, Valentina. My wishlist is getting longer and longer... LOL.

Alessandra said...

Such amazing illustrations!
Thank you for sharing them with us!

Ana S. said...

Thank you for this post :D I had never heard of him before. His stuff is so lovely. I think my favourite is the witch. And how cool that you got to hear him talk at your bookshop!

Jeane said...

What beautiful artwork! I really enjoyed looking at all the illustrations.

Anonymous said...

"Melisande" is one of my favorite stories from Nesbit, but I was completely unfamiliar with Lynch's illustrated edition...I also LOVE his rendering of The Snow Queen - thanks for this wonderful post!

Carl V. Anderson said...

Wow! What wonderful illustrations. I can see why he is a favorite. Amazing stuff. I'm thrilled to pop over here and discover a new and wonderful artist. I'll be looking for some of these books.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing with us.

Jill said...

Wow, Valentina - those illustrations are enchanting. I was familiar with several of them, but I had no idea they were all by the same artist. And Catkin - I have to read that book! Thanks!

valentina said...

melody,hi hi,ok I'll stop.....nahhh only joking. you'll have to keep building up your wishlist:D

alessandra, my pleasure. I love sharing my passions through my blog.

nymeth, I hoped you liked it, so consider it submitted. I will email my other post and this tomorrow after work:)

jeane, I'm glad you like them!

ken, yeah the snow queen is stunning. You know I never read Melisande? This edition seems hard to get, and I didn't know it existed in a non illustrated version..

carl, I hope you will find something, he is so talented! I'm happy you enjoyed them!

trish, you're welcome:P

Darla, yes you have! it's such a charming tale and P J Lynch did some mesmerising work for it.

Anonymous said...

Melisande was originally published in a collection of Nesbit's short stories called "Nine Unlikely Tales for Children" - I first read the story in the compilation "Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers"...there's also an audio version available from LibriVox that's very well done -
Finally, the text is available online at http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/index.html
So there you go - more information than you ever wanted to know about where to find a somewhat obscure little story!

Becky said...

The illustrations are really amazing!

Cheryl Vanatti said...

I've never heard of the artist before, but his work is fantastic. I tried to get a feed for his blog (I'm a blog addict), but couldn't get it into the reader. Guess I'll just have to bookmark him for now ;-)

(jumped here from the Bookworms Carnival)

Anonymous said...

Absolutely gorgeous! What makes it even better is that I know I've seen some of these illustrations around but never knew the illustrator.

Lightheaded said...

Stunning illustrations indeed! Gee, this Bookworms Carnival is making me search for artists most of the times these past couple of days!

I should go and check his website and blog as well (while saving the photos here in my graphics folder, hahaha).

Clare - The Super Mommy Club said...

ok - now I need to start reading illustrated books - these are just amazing!

Amanda said...

What wonderful illustrations! I am definitely going to start reading his blog. Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I love the couple illustrations. Lovely. Thanks for sharing I learned alot:)

valentina said...

Ken, that's great! Thanks you very much for the info:)

Becky, absolutely!

Tasses, I don't know why it doesn't work, but he doesn't update that much often so it shouldn't be a big problem to check it now and then:)

bookchronicle, I know the feeling. It's nice to put a name beside a well-love picture or illustration.

lightheaded,I saved them as well eheh. Hope you'll manage to find his work in your local bookshop!or there's always the internet...

mrs s, it's never too late!

amanda, I'm glad you liked them!

Tracy, yes, that's one of my favourite too!!

Rebecca Reid said...

I love the picture from "The Names upon the harp" and the O'Henry. I hadn't thought about how the illustration really does add to the fairy tale element, but the sure do, especially when they are so captivating!

Anonymous said...

Hey Valentina
Thank you so much for putting that great display of my work on your blog, and for introducing my books to a lot of people who haven't come across them before.
I remember when we met at your bookstore last Christmas. It's a great bookshop, and it's great that they have people like you who are so passionate about books.
Re the blog and website. I'm not that well up on web technology, but I do try to post something interesting each week. There are also some video clips on youtube:
Thanks again Valentina, I hope to see you again soon.
And very best wishes to all your Blog readers,and thank you for all those kind comments!

valentina said...

My pleasure! I'm glad you remembered me, I wouldn't have thought so:P

and thanks so much for mentioning the post on your blog, that was a great honour! the videos are really interesting, it's great to be able to understand the process of making such great illustrations. I'm looking forward to seeing your future works!