Sunday, January 02, 2011

They all say I'm a dreamer

from w
Imagine - that song is in my head as I read a story in today's 'Addie' about a wonderful illustrator who lives in the Geelong region. Robert Ingpen who at 74 still makes about one hundred drawings a year. When the interviewer said to Robert Ingpen that he does a lot of dreaming the response was 'You see, when you walk off the main highway of life, on to the verge, into the forest, that's where the dreaming takes place. That's where literature and art lie. The paths created in that forest have to be followed. But if you lose the sound of the highway, you're gone. The classic series is about making pictures for modern children that contain the essence of what children want to look at. That is colour, detail, unexplained space, undefined space. And it's working. We have been able to drag 'em away from the TV. Theyr'e selling round the world.'

DOUG AITON: Child's play at work
| January 3rd, 2011
Robert Ingpen

SEVEN years after Geelong's Robert Ingpen was chosen to illustrate the centenary edition of Peter Pan, the merry-go-round continues.The English publisher Palazzo Editions, based in Bath, has had him working on the illustrations for re-publication of a collection of children's classics. Those already published include RL Stevenson's Treasure Island, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, Kenneth Graham's The Wind In The Willows, Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, and Alice Through The Looking Glass, Frank Baum's The Wizard Of Oz, Jules Verne's Around The World In Eighty Days, Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden.

One such book has been published each year since 2004. Ingpen has to do about 100 illustrations for each book.The books are already selling enormously well in many countries, so by now, Robert Ingpen must be one of the most highly-regarded children's illustrators of all time.

This does not seem to be all that well recognised by his own country, or, in fact, Ingpen himself who seems quite nonchalant.I met him at his temporary home in Point Lonsdale, where he has set up a sort of studio under the large sunny window of the main room.

He and Angela, his wife of more than half a century, have lived for many years in Anglesea, but are presently in a house at Point Lonsdale while their new home in Barwon Heads nears completion.

Robert Ingpen is now 74, another fact he seems bemused by. He is a very charming, quick-humoured and whimsical man. He was playing a CD of Welsh choirs singing choral classics as he sketched and dabbed at the window desk.

It is quite fascinating to look over his shoulder at illustrations being created. One quickly understands why his work is internationally celebrated.

I started with an understatement. "You're quite good at drawing things," I said.

He took me seriously. "Well, it's the only thing I do, apart from dream and tell stories," he replied. "I am passionately committed to these things."

He rejected the notion that his was a "great" talent."Great people are like Mandela and Ghandi. You and I are just dreamers."

I asked him to name some other great people.

"Rembrandt is the best illustrator ever. If he were here today he would be illustrating children's books. He would draw on the literature.

"And I would go and sit at his feet and learn."

Ingpen is the only Australian to have been awarded the Hans Christian Andersen medal for children's literature. That was in 1986. This is awarded by the International Board of Books for Children's Literature.

Children's books, though, are not the only work he does. For example, he also designs tapestries for the Australian Tapestry Work Shop in South Melbourne, an organisation for which he has enormous regard.

"Weavers have more going for them than all the rest of fine artists put together. Except for Fred Williams (the late Australian painter) who was the best, quite exceptional."

and so on.

Labels: , ,


Blogger annie said...

What a wonderful post about Robert Ingpen, Wendy, and what a happy man he seems to be. Thank you for talking about him and showing some of his work so that we can enjoy him, too.


8:15 AM  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

There are wonderful people around and Robert is one of them. Amazing that he can produce so many beautiful drawings.

4:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home