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Children's and Young Adult Literature

Chris Riddell and letterpress texture in The Sleeper and the Spindle (2015).

by Linda Salem on 2017-05-18T14:23:00-07:00 | 0 Comments

Image resultFor born digital makers who crave  DIY 19th century letterpress forms and effects, Chris Riddell's illustrations for The Sleeper and the Spindle do not disappoint and earned the book the 2016 Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration. Inspired by illuminated texts and by the words of his collaborator and author Neil Gaiman, Riddell's technique is to draw in pencil, ink over the lines with a brush and to add color, blue and yellow, last, he told the Guardian in 2014, claiming “I’m not a painter by any stretch of the imagination; I’m a dyed-in-the-wool traditional illustrator, and I begin with black and white. If I need colour, I add it over the top. There’s a calligraphic element to it … it’s about the texture of lines on the page.” And the texture Riddell adds to the page in Sleeper evokes the 'thicks and thins' of letterpress printing techniques used during the golden age of fairytale illustration, relief printing and intaglio printing, but especially relief.

Chris Riddell fills this princess fairytale with letterpress/relief and illumination effects to illustrate Neil Gaiman's story in which Snow White's quest is to awaken Sleeping Beauty and herself.

Interested in learning more about letterpress printing? Watch this from video from Firefly

list of Kate Greenaway Medal awardees is at

The Sleeper and the Spindle is available for checkout in the SDSU juvenile collection under call number 823 G141 S63 2015.

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