Although my subsequent career has taken me in another direction, early on my focus was on book design for children. Ever since I got involved with Two Rivers, I wanted to publish a book for children with the press. Imagine my delight when we were approached by history teacher Kerry Renshaw whose fond memories of the I-Spy series inspired him to write his own version to help children uncover the hidden history to be found on the streets of Reading.
Now imagine my disappointment when things went a little crazy for me and I had to delegate to another designer, although I still managed to fit in the cover design.
I also designed a certificate given out to children who completed one of the walking trails in the book on the day of its launch at the Museum of Reading. The launch, incidentally, was a little crazy in its own right in that the books arrived from the printers literally minutes before the kids trooped in.
We went to the wire, but I went back to my roots, and the book did well in sales. Happy end.
Following the success of Birds, Blocks & Stamps (2011), this is my second collaboration with internationally acclaimed wildlife artist Robert Gillmor and Two Rivers Press.
Gillmor was already a keen bird-watcher at the age of 11 when the Reading Ornithological Club (launched in 1947) invited him to join them as a visitor; at 13 he was elected as their first junior member. He was also learning the art of lino-cutting at Leighton Park School, and the Club’s 1949 annual report bore his linocut of a Canada Goose on its first printed cover. Over sixty years on he is still producing his wonderful representations of birds for the covers, particularly the more interesting sightings of each year. This book is the story of his formative bird-watching and print-making years. Illustrated with the images from the covers themselves, it is a beguiling account of the development of both artist and bird-lover.
Client: Two Rivers Press (2013)
‘Things may come and things may go, but the art school dance goes on for ever.’
This second volume of John Froy’s memoir takes us from Italy to Art School in the 1970s, with many twists and turns in between. It is both a personal memoir, as the author battles with the confusions of those painful years between 18 and 22, and a chronicle of the times, with their new freedom to hitch-hike round Europe, throw oneself into sexual relationships and sample drugs. In the arts, too, change and experiment are everywhere: the figurative/abstract divide in painting and sculpture, the new photography, film and Happenings. In the midst of this turmoil the author struggles to find himself through his art, seeking consolation in his deep love of nature and landscape.
An Artist’s Year in the Harris Garden presents the vision of Jenny Halstead, Artist in Residence in the Harris Garden at the University of Reading 2012–2013.
The book follows a chronological structure. Each season opens with a dramatic full-page image alongside specially-commissioned poems on a brightly-coloured background. Within each section, a double-page spread is given over to each month, featuring sketches and finished paintings produced that month. Jenny’s narrative is accompanied by the Head Gardener’s ‘flowering highlights’.
As well as using vignetted and squared-up images, I deliberately retained some of the artwork’s natural edges and sketchbook spiral bindings to give a richer, tactile feel to the book, and to draw attention to Jenny’s technique of producing finished oils and pastels from quick field sketches.
Broad Street Chapel & the Origins of Dissent in Reading (written and illustrated by Geoff Sawers) chronicles the origins and life of this beautiful building in Reading’s town centre, now restored as a branch of Waterstones.
The cover features my own illustration (half linocut, half Photoshop) and hand-lettering.