Thursday, 25 June 2009

david hughes

For a little non-seasonal bedtime reading last night, I was looking (drooling slightly) at 'Silent Night' by Sandy Turner. It's about a little dog who goes crazy, barking at apparently nothing one Christmas Eve night. The only text is the 'woof, bark, yap' that the dog emits. Only the dog can see Father Christmas, not the humans who only see their pet going mad in front of them. I particularly like this bit below, where the father is looking through Santa at his dog and Santa isn't coloured in because the man can't see him.

I love the minimalist style and limited palette of this book - quite unusual for a children's book, but then the author and illustrator is no ordinary chap either.

Turner's real name is David Hughes who is a very well known British illustrator, best recognised by his sometimes caustic but always very sharply observed caricatures. I think he is a magnificent talent - he's been at it since the early 1980s and has caricatured the likes of the Royal Family, Nietzsche, Jack Nicholson and Osama Bin Laden. His work dances on the very edge between acceptable wit and downright insult, but his eye for detail and character is razor-sharp. I have huge admiration for someone who does their entire illustration on paper and goes nowhere near a computer. Check out his 'Drawings' book (link below) for more of his stunning work.

Thom Yorke/Radiohead, Rolling Stone 1997.

Pressure of Numbers, Observer Magazine (A Doctor Writes) 1991.

Poorly-scanned images from 'Silent Night', by Sandy Turner, and from 'David Hughes: Drawings' published by Kerber.

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