I want to tell you more about last weekend's CWIG Conference, because there's simply oodles of interesting stuff to pass on, like the talk by Anthony Browne, the award winning author/illustrator, who I'm sure needs no introduction.
Then his mother dug out a tatty, old dressing gown that had belonged to his father. It even retained a slight memory of his Dad's smell. Anthony used this as his focus, and the book was written at last.
He talked too about the terrible problems he'd had with copyright. Anthony likes to make visual reference to famous painters in his illustrations. The cover of Willy The Dreamer was inspired by this painting by Magritte.
Unfortunately, the entire book was a series of visual puns based on famous paintings. The publisher, having already paid out some rather hefty lawyer's bills, didn't want to take any chances, so Anthony set about repainting the whole project.
But this was not the only problem. The book Willy's Picture's was also a homage to some of Anthony Browne's favourite paintors. It contained, amongst other things, a funny illustration based on Max Ernst's famous painting, Elephant Celebes (below). You can guess what's coming...
For you to be able to use images without fear of infringing copyright, the artist has to have been dead for 70 years. More re-painting. The book did appear eventually, but almost all of the artists featured in it had to be changed to people long dead..
Everybody left the talk wondering how on earth Anthony Browne had managed to put it all behind him and carry on. He didn't come across as bitter and twisted, but I'm sure he grits his teeth every time he thinks about it.
The illustration at the top of this post by the way, is taken from the end of Class Two at the Zoo, written by Julia Jarman. In case you're wondering, it's snake spit that they are covered in. You'll have to read the book to find out why!