Basic and Sumberac’s ‘Snow White’.

Zdenko Basic and Manuel Sumberac, originally animators, make up the illustration duo that create fantastically striking picture books that are dark and stylised. Their background in animation can be seen through their use of 3D looking characters and sets, as well as the dramatic sense of motion and atmosphere in their illustrations.

IMG_0317Stella Gurneys ‘Snow White’ is illustrated by Basic and Sumberac. For this classic fairytale they created wonderful illustrations full of detail and strong narrative. They have a very distinct style, particularly in their character designs. All the people are very long and tall, with spindly limbs and large heads. With their pale skin and hollow eyes there is a feel of Tim Burtons’ unmistakable style to them. Basic and Sumberac use colour very cleverly in this book as they use it to set the mood and atmosphere of the story. During the more sinister parts of the story they use dark and moody colours to create a sense of danger, and in the happier parts of the tale like the ending they use softer pastel colours to show that all is well.


Basic and Sumberac make use of texture and collage in all of their illustrations. Throughout the book they use subtle paint splatters and old looking parchment to create a textured antiquey surface. Collage is used a lot but also very subtly. Some real animals, food and objects are collaged into the illustrations, but because of their 3D and serial nature it is not very obvious.

IMG_0329IMG_0322I feel this a good example of a post modern picture book, as it includes quirky extras to the story. Such features are the framed character profiles at the beginning of the book and small books you can flick through within the story, like the dwarves family photo album and the evil queens spell book. There is also a precious gem to be found in every scene.

Final Pop Up Scene

This engaging book also includes flaps to open, wheels to spin and a fantastic pop- up scene on the final page. These interactive elements are very appealing to children and make them enjoy the story on another level. Basic and Sumberac are obviously very good at digital work too, as I believe they use it in all of their illustrations to adjust the colours, lighting, depth and textures.

Their enchanting and impressive illustrations make this version of the classic tale of Snow White edgy and modern. This picture book I feel is aimed at older children as the story is lengthy but mostly because there is a maturity to the illustrations with underlying darker tones.  I love their stylistic designs and envy their subtle use of texture and collage.


‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ illustrations by John Burningham

I adore children’s picture books but I have not had much experience with children’s novel illustrations. One brilliant example of this genre is ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the Magical Car’ by Ian Flemming and illustrated by John  Burningham. Childrens novels are aimed at children aged between 9 and 12, so the illustrations have to be mature enough to appeal to the older children but at the same time still be exciting enough to engage them. John Burningham does this extremely well through his interesting and expressive illustrations.ChittyChittyBangBang

The cover of the book reminds me of modernist poster with the bright, bold colours and asymmetrical compostition. The typography and layout is also very modernist and simple. I love the wrap around illustration and how the car continues round onto the back.This stylized illustrations is true throughout the book.

spot 1spot 2Throughout the novel Burningham uses both spot illustrations and double page spreads where appropriate in relation to the text. The main media used is ink which he applies very freely yet still with consideration. He uses different mark making to create texture and atmosphere.

ill 2The majority of the spot illustrations are in black and white, but Burningham uses colour in various ways in the double spreads. In some illustrations he uses spot colour and applies it is different ways. This can clearly be seen in the illustration here. The tone of the green changes as well as how the colour is applied; flat or textured. This creates a very dynamic and textural image that works well with the subject if the garage.

chittyCollage is also a technique that is very prominent in Burninghams work. He uses tinted black and white photographs to build on top off with drawings and paint. I think the collage is really effective and interesting and adds another dimension to the illustrations. The inclusion of the photographs makes the illustrations more grown up which would appeal to the audience of older children.

There is one page where there is no text and the open page is a double spread illustration. These variations in the size and format of the illustrations make it an engaging book to read as every page is different so keeps the young reader interested. I really like John Burninghams illustrations and think they are very appropriate for the story and audience. His combination of photos and drawings is very interesting and he manages to bridge the gap between the two very subtly and with great style.