Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The flea, the mouse, the spider and other illustrated stories

This is a German book originally titled 'Der Floh, Die Maus, Die Spinne und andere Bildgeschichten'. As per the Google translation, it is 'The flea, the mouse, the spider and other illustrated stories '. A lovely book with stunning illustrations! Not understanding a single word in German, the illustrations in the book were so striking that it became almost irresistible to get this book. No, no, the Google translation was not there at that time, nor was blogging. Yet this book became so close to heart that it remained almost handy.
Not knowing anything about the author-illustrator Wilhelm Busch before the Google era, the wikipedia has a detailed page on him.
Meanwhile see this simple, yet elegant illustrations on the front jacket.

 This story is titled 'Die Maus'. (The Mouse). Not a single word, just liiustrations, illustrations and illustrations. They seem to have done with ink, brush and some with pencils. Here the lines are thin, yet bold. Notice the rat in the foreground.

 The lines here start getting thicker, probably with the use of ink. The water color is also used here. See how the open umbrella is shown.

The rat slips into the cat and it is finally caught. Notice the thick strokes of black ink in the background as well as in the foreground. The chair also fall down while collecting the rat in the cap. The detail of fingers is not shown.

 The rat being caught is dropped in a drum and is covered. Watch the use of water color and pastel in the woman's top and in the umbrella. See how simply the three planes are shown with few strokes.

 Notice the fingers of the hand of the man in both the illustrations. The last picture is difficult to understand. Is the man holding a rat with his fingers? Why the woman is standing on the chair? What is she pouring from the bottle? Are they trying to drown the rat?

And the lines become thinner, finer, clearer in the last illustration! You can notice each and everything. The broken bottle, candle, bowl etc.. And how the drum behind the bed is shown with lighter strokes. 

This is the last jacket of the book. simple, yet elegant. 

And now something about the artist Wilhelm Busch courtesy wikipedia. 
Heinrich Christian Wilhelm Busch (15 April 1832 – 9 January 1908) was a German humorist, poet, illustrator and painter. He published comic illustrated cautionary tales from 1859, achieving his most notable works in the 1870s. Busch's illustrations used wood engraving, and later zincography.

Wilhelm busch.png
A self-portrait by Wilhelm Busch
Busch drew on contemporary parochial and city life, satirizing Catholicism, Philistinism, strict religious morality and bigotry. His comic text was colourful and entertaining, using onomatopoeianeologisms and other figures of speech, and led to some work being banned by the authorities.
Busch was influential in both poetry and illustration, and became a source for future generations of comic artists. The Katzenjammer Kids was inspired by Busch's Max and Moritz, one of a number of imitations produced in Germany and the United States. The Wilhelm Busch Prize and theWilhelm Busch Museum help maintain his legacy. His 175th anniversary in 2007 was celebrated throughout Germany. Busch remains one of the most influential poets and artists in Western Europe. 
More about the artist can be read here: 

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