Through the mirror-glass: Capture of artwork framed in glass.

 

State Library’s collection material that is selected for digitisation comes to the Digitisation team in a variety of forms. This blog describes capture of artwork that is framed and encased within glass.

So let’s see how the item is digitized.

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Two large framed original artworks from the picture book Teacup written by Rebecca Young and illustrated by Matt Ottley posed some significant digitisation challenges.

When artwork from the Heritage collection is framed in glass, the glass acts like a mirror and without great care during the capture process, the glass can reflect whatever is in front of it, meaning that the photographer’s reflection (and the reflection of capture equipment) can obscure the artwork.

This post shows how we avoided this issue during the digitisation of two large framed paintings, Cover illustration for Teacup and also page 4-5 [PWC/255/01 ] and The way the whales called out to each other [PWC/255/09].

Though it is sometimes possible to remove the artwork from its housing, there are occasions when this is not suitable. In this example, the decision was made to not remove the artworks from behind glass as the Conservation staff assessed that it would be best if the works were not disturbed from their original housing.

PWC/255/01                                                         PWC/255/09

The most critical issue was to be in control of the light. Rearranging equipment in the workroom allowed for the artwork to face a black wall, a method used by photographers to eliminate reflections.

 

We used black plastic across the entrance of the workroom to eliminate all unwanted light.

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The next challenge was to set up the camera. For this shoot we used our Hasselblad H3D11 (a 39 mega pixel with excellent colour fidelity).

 

Prior to capture, we gave the glass a good clean with an anti-static cloth. In the images below, you can clearly see the reflection caused by the mirror effect of the glass.

 

Since we don’t have a dedicated photographic studio we needed to be creative when introducing extra light to allow for the capture. Bouncing the light off a large white card prevented direct light from falling on the artwork and reduced a significant number of reflections. We also used a polarizing filter on the camera lens to reduce reflections even further.

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Once every reflection was eliminated and the camera set square to the artwork, we could test colour balance and exposure.

In the image below, you can see that we made the camera look like ‘Ned Kelly’ to ensure any shiny metal from the camera body didn’t reflect in the glass. We used the camera’s computer controlled remote shutter function to further minimise any reflections in front of the glass.

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The preservation file includes technically accurate colour and greyscale patches to allow for colour fidelity and a ruler for accurate scaling in future reproductions.

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The preservation file and a cropped version for access were then ingested into the State Library’s digital repository. The repository allows for current access and future reproductions to be made.

From this post you can see the care and attention that goes into preservation digitisation, ‘Do it right, do it once’ is our motto.

Simpson and his Donkey – an exhibition

Illustrations by Frané Lessac and words by Mark Greenwood share the heroic story of John Simpson Kirkpatrick in the picture book Simpson and his Donkey.  The exhibition is on display at the State Library until  27 April. 

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Unpublished spread 14 for pages 32 – 33
Collection of draft materials for Simpson and his Donkey, PWC/254/18 

The original illustrations, preliminary sketches and draft materials displayed in this exhibition form part of the State Library’s Peter Williams’ collection: a collection of original Australian picture book art.

Known as ‘the man with the donkey’, Simpson was a medic who rescued wounded soldiers at Gallipoli during World War I.

The bravery and sacrifice attributed to Simpson is now considered part of the ‘Anzac legend’. It is the myth and legend of John Simpson that Frané Lessac and Mark Greenwood tell in their book.

Frané Lessac and Mark Greenwood also travelled to Anzac Cove to explore where Simpson and Duffy had worked.  This experience and their research enabled them to layer creative interpretation over historical information and Anzac legend.

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On a moonless April morning, PWC254/6 

Frané Lessac is a Western Australian author-illustrator who has published over forty books for children. Frané speaks at festivals in Australia and overseas, sharing the process of writing and illustrating books. She often illustrates books by , Mark Greenwood, of which Simpson and his Donkey is just one example.

Simpson and his Donkey is published by Walker Books, 2008. The original illustrations are  display in the Story Place Gallery until 27 April 2017.

  • This exhibition is supported by a self-guided trail and educators guide. For school group bookings visit our website.
  • Copies of the book are available for sale from the Discovery Store at the State Library.

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A Sausage Went for a Walk One Day

Can cats fly? 
Can a goat be a superhero?
Can a sausage go for a walk? 

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Peter Kendall, Out of the gate marched breakfast,  reproduced in A Sausage Went for a Walk by Ellisha Majid and Peter Kendall, 1991. Published by Fremantle Press. 

In picture books anything is possible, just as anything is possible in the imagination of a child.  The power of picture books to ignite imagination is highlighted in our current exhibition,  A Sausage Went for a Walk One Day – celebrating Western Australian picture books and 40 fabulous years of Fremantle Press

Beginning with the award winning,  A Sausage Went for a Walk  (1991) by Ellisha Majid and Peter Kendall, the exhibition includes artwork drawn from the State Library Williams collection of illustrations, as well as artwork loaned from illustrators.

Readers of picture books usually only see the finished product in the form of the published book. The process of book making is revealed in this exhibition through sketches, storyboards, colour experiments, text revisions, and published artwork.  The artworks in the exhibition reveal surprising insights into how picture books are brought to life. This post will explore five of these ideas.

1. A work in progress
Illustrations from Palo Morgan’s book Cat Balloon highlight how stories often change during the process of illustration.  A closer look at sketches show cat balloon depicted with arms outstretched, and  wings attached to his back.  In the published illustration below Cat Balloon is shown pursuing his dream to fly by other means.

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Palo Morgan, To sea in a large silver spoon, reproduced in Cat Balloon by Palo Morgan, 1992. Published by Fremantle Press. State Library of Western Australia collection, PWC/253 

2. From big to small 
Picture books are portable art. They are small enough to be held in little hands. To capture detail of shape and form,  many illustrators choose to work with a larger scale. Moira Court’s, Leaping in single bound for the story My Superhero (written by Chris Owen) is more than four times the size of the published book!

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Moira Court, Leaping in a single bound, reproduced in My Superhero by Chris Owen and Moira Court. Published by Fremantle Press, 2012. State Library of Western Australia collection, PWC/218. 

3. Hints of home 
A picture book can be found and read anywhere in the world, and translated into a variety of different languages and formats.  The picture books featured in A Sausage Went for a Walk One Day have all been published in Western Australia, and embedded within them, are connections to place and the daily lives of their creators.

Street scenes of Fremantle in Sonia Martinez illustrations for The World According to Warren (written by Craig Silvey) might be recognisable to visitors.

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Sonia Martinez, And he was never again distracted whilst on duty, reproduced in The World According to Warren by Craig Silvey and Sonia Martinez. Published by Fremantle Press, 2007. State Library of Western Australia collection, PWC/115

The colours and patterns found in Sally Morgan’s illustration, Beneath the stars we all sleep. are inspired by her close observation of the Western Australian landscape, and the inter-connectedness of humans and the natural environment.

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Sally Morgan, Beneath the stars we all sleep, reproduced in We All Sleep by Ezekiel Kwaymullina and Sally Morgan. Published by Fremantle Press, 2016.

4. Universal themes 
Picture books succinctly deal with complex themes and messages with global relevance. These range from cultural diversity, social inclusion, environmental concern, and  the impacts of historical events, particularly war and its aftermath. They communicate about human emotions as varied as joy, to loneliness and grief, and themes of family, friends, belonging, and home. They affirm the importance of the imagination , which has the power to unlock dreams and human potential.

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Michael Thompson, But we love their food, reproduced in The Other Bears by Michael Thompson. Published by Fremantle Press, 2010.

 

5. Medium and the message
Illustrators carefully select a style and technique which compliments the words. Some styles are detailed, while other styles are more spontaneous and free flowing. Each technique has a different effect on the viewer.  The repetition of shapes and the geometric style of Kyle Hughes-Odgers, as seen in On a Small Island and Ten Tiny Things, draws attention to details in line, pattern, and shape. In contrast, Brian Simmonds’s realism in Lighthouse Girl and Light Horse Boy provokes an emotional response.

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Kyle Hughes-Odgers, So many strange buildings, reproduced in On a Small Island by Kyle Hughes-Odgers. Published by Fremantle Press, 2014.  

A Sausage Went for a Walk One Day is presented by Fremantle Press, the State Library of Western Australia and AWESOME Arts. It was launched as part of the 2016 AWESOME Festival and Fremantle Press 40 Year Anniversary celebrations.  It runs until 31 December 2016. For opening hours go to www.slwa.wa.gov.au

  • Curatorial tours on the art of picture books will be conducted on the following days and times: Monday 17 October 12:00pm – 12:45pm, Friday 11 November 1:00pm – 1:45pm, Wednesday 23 November 12:00pm – 12:45pm. For bookings go to slwa.eventbrite.com.au 
  • Books featured in the exhibition are available to purchase from The Discovery Store at the State Library.

The Lynley Dodd Story

On a scrap of notepaper of paper in 1979, Hairy Maclary was born.

The Lynley Dodd Story exhibition reveals the evolution of Dodd’s creative process and clues to her characters rise to international fame. More than 50 original illustrations including preliminary sketches, drafts and notes showcase the development of Dodd’s unique artistic style and her skillful marriage of words and illustration.

The first drawing of Hairy Maclary has been described as an “animated bottlebrush”. Loose lines give the appearance of movement as he bounces across the page. Hairy Maclary’s scruffy look is made up exclusively of directional lines. He is as much about the spaces between the lines as the lines themselves. The drawing is an unassuming work on a creased piece of scrap paper that captures in entirety Hairy Maclary’s appeal.

Hairy Maclary's Bone, (c) Lynley Dodd, 1984. Reproduced courtesy of Penguin Random House and the artist.

Hairy Maclary’s Bone (c) Lynley Dodd, 1984. Reproduced courtesy of Penguin Random House and the artist.

Lynley Dodd’s characters emerge in her illustrations like on stage performers. The backgrounds function as props for the action about to take place in the scene. Dodd’s use of truncation adds playfulness and encourages readers to turn the page.  Often part of Hairy Maclary disappears at the page edge, building anticipation as he moves off stage.

Dodd’s compositions are meticulously planned in a process which she describes as “Writing the pictures and painting the words”.

Much of her inspiration is drawn from real life. Many of Dodd’s characters are based on childhood pets, and plots are often inspired by almost unbelievable occurrences. The 1984 title Hairy Maclary’s Bone, was inspired by a routine trip to the butcher, where Dodd saw a large dog walking away from the butcher shop with a load of meat and bones hanging from his mouth. How that dog would get home without other dogs looting the lot unfolds in the story.

Each illustration is carefully composed with gouache and pen, Dodd’s medium of choice. Her technical skill is shown by her layering of gouache to create the  iridescent quality of the tiles on the meat shop front as seen in Hairy Maclary’s Bone. This technical skill has a sound foundation in her Fine Art training in sculpture.

A Dragon in a Wagon (c) Lynley Dodd, 1988, Reproduced courtesy of Penguin Random House and the artist.

A Dragon in a Wagon (c) Lynley Dodd, 1988, Reproduced courtesy of Penguin Random House and the artist.

The Lynley Dodd Story includes illustrations from many works set outside the Hairy Maclary series. A Dragon in a Wagon of 1988 showcases Dodd’s skillful painting and refining of words to create uncluttered verse.

The colour palette of A Dragon in a Wagon marks a departure from the shades of suburbia present in the Hairy Maclary series. The deep blues and cool yellows featured in the illustration ‘A Shark in the Dark’ exemplify this difference.  In the story imaginative scenes are tied to the bouncy rhyme and rhythm Dodd is well known for.

Other Ark

The Other Ark (c) Lynley Dodd, 2004, Reproduced courtesy of Penguin Random House and the Artist.

Illustrations from Find Me A Tiger (1991), The Dudgeon is Coming (2008) and The Other Ark (2004), highlight the breadth of Dodd’s practice as an illustrator.

Her clever use of scale reinforces meaning and adds humour to her stories.  Think about how big Hercules Morse is in comparison to Schnitzel von Krumm! In The Other Ark  Sam Jam Balu’s tiny size compared with the enormity of the ark, emphasises the large task ahead of him.

The Lynley Dodd Story is on display at the State Library of Western Australia until 27 January 2016. Presented with AWESOME Festival. For more information visit. www.slwa.wa.gov.au 

  • Guided Tour: The Art of Lynley Dodd (40 mins): Tuesday 3 November 3.30pm, free – bookings required 
  • Lynley Dodd books are available to purchase from The State Library Shop.
  • Families can pick up a free self guided tour booklet at the exhibition

Imagine the possibilities..Library and Information Week at the State Library 25-31 May 2015

Behind the Scenes Tours711A 49
Visit the State Library on Tuesday or Thursday next week and find out just a little about the fascinating preservation and conservation work that is so essential to the care of our most precious heritage items. Sessions are free but bookings are essential. 

Your Library Online
Come along on Friday 29th May and learn how to be an effective online researcher to find what you need when looking at the Library catalogue and our online databases and journals. Session is free but bookings are essential.

National Simultaneous Storytime
Join us on Wednesday 27th May to listen to The Brothers Quibble by Aaron Blabey read
at the same time to children around Australia.  All children (with carers) welcome. Storytime is held in the children’s area The Place on the mezzanine level. No Bookings are required.

The Place

The Place

 

Books from your Backyard Family Day

Books From Your Backyard

Where you can find 12 Western Australian authors and illustrators in one day?
In The Place at the State Library of Western Australia! 

Join us this Saturday for Books from your Backyard, a free family fun day in The Place. Be amazed by the local talent in your backyard as 12 writers from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (WA) read, perform and create drawings before your eyes.

10.00 am -Karen Blair – 0-4 years
10.30 am – Elaine Forrestal – 0-8 years
11.00 am – Briony Stewart – 4-7 years
11.30 am – Samantha Hughes – 5-12 years
12.00 pm – Chris Owen – 4-7 years
12.30 pm -Wendy Binks – 4-8 years
1.00 pm –  Teena Raffa-Mulligan – 4-7 years
1.30 pm –  Meg McKinlay – 4-8 years
2.00 pm –  James Foley – 5-12 years
2.30 pm –  H.Y. Hanna – 8-12 years
3.00 pm – Cristy Burne – 8-12 years
3.30 pm – Frane Lessac – 5-12 years

Make a day of it while you’re here and visit the Rules of Summer and On a Small Island exhibitions as well.

When:
 Saturday 10 January, 10am – 4pm
Where: The Place, Mezzanine Floor, State Library of Western Australia
Ages: 4-10 years
Entry: Entry is free. No bookings required.

Briony Stewart illustrating: Photo by Alanna Kusin

More information:

  • Books from your Backyard
  • All venues at the State Library are wheelchair accessible
  • Parents/ caregivers need to attend with children.
  • Books will be for sale and all sessions will be followed by book signings.