So apparently there is a place in Japan – the Oshima Museum of Picture Books. Every year they hold an international handmade picture book contest, and you can view the winners online here. Criteria for entry state that “entries should be bookbinding style,” and that “materials/techniques are without restriction.”
I don’t speak a word of Japanese (which is fine, since these are picture books), but the two third-place books really caught my eye. There are some really interesting works and beautiful illustrations among the winners, but a these were may favorite:
Samurai to boku, by Yutaka Kobayashi – I’ve got a weakness for anything that resembles Daniel Johnston illustrations. It looks like there is text (English text at that, since it looks like it’s going left to right instead of vertical), which I think is odd for a picture book competition, but whatever.
Kishuudensetsu Anchin to Kiyohime, by Chiemi Nagasawa (check out these pop-up skills!)
( couldn’t find anything else by this book artist, but will post anything I find later on).
Being more of a word person, this particular assignment started my thoughts rolling about books that feature exclusively pictures. When content is written, the window for different interpretations is significantly smaller than when people are faced with pictures, which not only have more accessibility (e.g., you don’t have to speak the same language as the artist to enjoy his/her work), but there is virtually no limit as to how people can interpret those images. It’s as if picture books have the potential to be a lot more personable to the reader.
I’m not sure whether this particular train of thought makes me want to incorporate pictures into my writing or not. Am guessing I’ll give it a shot (especially with my “found” book for this week’s assignment).