Play Pen

I've been eagerly awaiting this book for quite some time! Play Pen showcases new children's book illustration from diverse cultures. French, British, Korean, Japanese, Swedish, Norwegian, American and other cultures are represented. The author writes, "In making what must be of necessity a highly subjective selection, the aim of this book has been to represent a broad range of stylistic and conceptual trends and a range of cultural characteristics from around the world, across what is increasingly a global market."

One of the stand-out illustrators is Frenchman Marc Boutavant, who illustrated the cover and endpapers. His work has a marvelous sensitivity, texture and retro quality. It is amazing that his work is done entirely in Photoshop with a Wacom tablet. "I used to work late into the the night with a zero pencil and acrylic paints but one day, suddenly, I was free... And the great thing was, I was no longer looking at the end of my finger. My hand was drawing but my eyes were looking only at what I was drawing. It made me rasie my nose from the paper. Of course, beyond the technical, the biggest influence on work is life. My own children play an important part in feeding the work too... intangible things, little smiles or things like that."


The work in Play Pen is charming, exquisite and innovative. The book is divided into sections covering picture and board books, alphabets and wordplay, illustration for older children and art for non-fiction projects. The book itself is well-designed and presents each artist's work at large sizes so that it can be fully appreciated. Highly recommended!

Play Pen is available in the shop and online in the book section, illustration category.