October 1, 2010

Illustrations by David Frampton

        I recently discovered some children's picture books illustrated with wood block prints by David Frampton.  I was delighted (and impressed, of course) so I want to share his work with you.  As a professional illustrator Frampton has done all kinds of projects, and books on all kinds of topics.  More recently he's been doing some books of his own, although he continues to illustrate works by others, too.  Frampton usually does prints using multiple blocks for multiple colors, but even so his work often demonstrates the beautiful drama of light and shadow that's one of the things I love so much about relief prints.

        I found this great interview with Frampton, in which he echoes what I was saying in my post on the value of original art.  He says:
        Often when I describe the process to someone and they come to realize just how involved and time consuming the process is, they inevitably ask, "Couldn't you get the job done faster and easier with paint or crayons?" The answer is "yes," but it's not as much fun. I just like doing woodcuts. When you look at the finished print it has a certain look, a look that says, "This picture was done by hand." You can see the process in the picture itself. You can see that someone took a flat piece of wood and carved a picture on it. You can see that paint was applied to that surface and then that surface was pressed against a piece of paper.
        I agree with him, so naturally I think he must be a brilliant and sensible man.  (He also has a sense of humor, if you read the rest of the interview.)
        Frampton has illustrated a number of various books on folk tales, mythology, legends, and such.  Just for fun, therefore, I decided to feature here some of his work that could be categorized as fantasy.  He's got plenty of other beautiful work that isn't fantasy at all, but I had to pick somehow, so I hope you enjoy these - and search out some of his other illustrations.

Okay, it's not fantasy, but it's one of my favorites.
   [Pictures: Merlin and the dragons, woodcut by David Frampton, p5 from Of Swords and Sorcerers by Margaret Hodges and Margery Evernden, 1993;
   The Feng Huang, woodcut by David Frampton, p95 from A Guide to the Imaginary Birds of the World by Joe Nigg, 1984;
   knight, woodcut by David Frampton, title page from Of Swords and Sorcerers by Margaret Hodges and Margery Evernden, 1993;
   xog, woodcut by David Frampton, from My Beastie Book of ABC, written and illustrated by David Frampton, 2002;
   sailors at a gam, woodcut by David Frampton, p19 from Whaling Days by Carol Carrick, 1993.]


Pax said...

I like "sailors at a gam", too. Thanks for introducing it to me, or me to it. What is a "gam"?

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

A gam is a social gathering between ships while at sea. The word came from whaling, so it shouldn't be a surprise that it also means a group of whales, whom the sailors would have observed gathering sociably.