Monday, 7 July 2008

Picture Book Monday (on a Tuesday...): Il Sung Na

This week I'd like to focus on one author, instead of just one title.
Il Sung Na has only published two books up to now, so I thought it'd be best to feature both of them.
His debut, Zzzzz - a book of sleep , is a true piece of art. It won me over immediately, with just one glance. Just take a look at some examples and judge for yourself:

He uses a mix of manual and digital media to create a unique decorative effect which is just stunning. I love the way he draws flowers everywhere, on elephants, whales, birds and fish. It looks like he doodled all over the pages, with spirals and prints and random decorations, but instead of looking messy, the result is really stylish and personal.

Even though I think this is his best work, his second book is great too.
It's called The Thingamabob, a funny tale of an elephant who finds a strange looking object and can't figure out what it is for...until it starts to rain!

This book is packed with elephant-y cuteness. It uses lighter tones of colours and it's less detailed than A book of sleep, but it still has all its charm and originality.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them and have a better look. It's worth it.

I'm so glad there's artist like Il Sun Na around. They definitely raise children's picture book onto a higher level. Children deserve to be exposed to these kind of beautiful works. I believe it helps expand their visual imagination and develop their artistic souls.
Sometimes I hear people saying "ah yes, this is great but would the kids understand it? Isn't it too advanced/complicated/more for adults than for them?". It's like saying when something is good than it's not for children.
And that goes to show how many times people tend to underestimate kids and toddlers.
I'm not saying this for Il Sung Na's books in particular. It's just something that bugs me a lot, since I've been working in bookshops and I've been dying to say it!
So, give children the best books. Expose them to art and beauty. Let them play freely with colours and paint and most importantly scrap all those dreadful narrow-minding colouring books!!!


Lenore Appelhans said...

Oh wow - those illustrations are so wonderful. These go on my wishlist NOW!

Anonymous said...

I always lust after these picture books; so many of them are gorgeous. Back in my day I got picture books with Pound Puppies and Care Bears (not that there's anything wrong with those) but I would've been STOKED to have this type.

♥ Renay

valentina said...

Lenore, I'm glad you like them as much as I do!

Renay, I don't know about Pound Puppies, but I did love the Care Bears too:).
and I'm happy you agree with me!

Ana S. said...

I know what you mean about children being underestimated. I think it's better to give children "advanced" books that challenge them than "easy" books that bore them and possible put them off reading.

Lovely artwork, btw.

Cathrine said...

these are lovely :) thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

I just love your choices for picture books - they are always so whimsical!

mariel said...

My mouth actually dropped open looking at the illustrations in a book of sleep! Absolutely perfect. Will definitely be adding this to my picture book collection!

Carl V. Anderson said...

Love the illustrations, particularly in the first book. The dark backgrounds do more for me. Beautiful!

I totally agree with your thoughts on kids' books. Why not have things that speak on different levels. I love it when I can pick up a picture book or a young adult novel and get something out of it that only the rare child would ever me that elevates it to art, when it can speak to multiple generations. And why not challenge kids a bit, stimulate them on the conscious and unconscious level? Might actually be good for them! ;)