Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Joyce Wan's Wonderfully Deceptive Digital Illustrations

Click to enlarge the photo and more clearly see the
wood grain texture in the sky, water, and flowers.
This week I pulled a picture book off the shelf in the children's section of the library that I felt convinced was made with woodcuts. It was Frog & Friends, a board book for toddlers from Joyce Wan's What Am I? series.

In an interview with Brianna's Book Stop, Joyce Wan talks about Frog & Friends and her other new release, Owl & Friends. Answering the very first question, the artist speaks of her love of wood textures, and explains the process by which she created the wood grain texture in these books:
The textures were created by scanning actual wood and then incorporated into the art using Photoshop.

What am I, indeed! The whole thing was created digitally! Welcome to the new age. And I don't mean that in any anti-digital, sarcastic way. Regardless of how Wan achieved it, I am enthralled by the results.

The wood grain texture in Frog & Friends takes these pictures to a level beyond the perfect geometric shapes and clean lines. Without the textures and the play they introduce between geometric and organic elements, these illustrations would strike me as pretty, but lifeless. The role the wood texture plays in these adorable pictures is why I bothered to check the book out, and why I enjoy reading it to my two-year-old.

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