Monday Inspiration – Hilda!

I end up in some wonderful nostalgic conversations around the influences on my artwork, there’s no denying that I was fascinated by the clear line style used in all sorts of stories… from graphic novels and comics to animated cartoons. In fact I named several big childhood favourites in amongst more typical fine artist masters in a list of my top 10 creative influences. But i’m still finding new inspiration in more contemporary ‘children’s’ stories… many of them discovered alongside my two children who seem just as taken in with the artwork of these worlds as I have always been.

Hilda and the Mountain King

The Hilda series is a great example, as I had originally bought the first few books for myself. But somewhere along the line my daughter picked one up and asked me to ready it with her… in no time at all, every book found it’s way onto her bedroom bookshelf. We read each one cover to cover and know all the stories off by heart. I particularly enjoy books where the illustration adds to the narrative as well as the dialogue; graphic novels are sometimes the best example of that.

The most recent addition to the Hilda books was released at the end of the Summer and proved to be another big hit at bedtime. More wonderfully drawn pages (in colour tones that remind me perfectly of the comics of my youth) and original storytelling. All of the stories in this series have been lovingly created by the super-talented Luke Pearson. More educated commentary has noted the connection to the older works of Tove Jansson (Moomins) or Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away); I absolutely agree with those observations but cant help but see shades of The Beano too! the strips certainly retain some of that British humour. Then again, it would be interesting to know how many creative kids from our generation were not influenced by those comics!

‘Children Only’

There are six titles now, and a Netflix TV series too! so if you haven’t discovered the world of Hilda i’d highly recommend it. I don’t agree with this idea that ‘Children’s stories should only be for children’, it’s a view that comes up a lot online with the growth of social media and reviewer culture. It feels to me that these stories are too easily dismissed… perhaps we feel the need to show how grown up we are, what clever and worthy tomes we read.

But all of these stories have darkness in them, they paint moody atmospheres and develop complicated plot lines. They build worlds. Perhaps most importantly, for me at least, the artists who create them seem to discover new and original ways to bring illustration to life.

Pick one up… feel inspired… then share them with your kids 🙂
Hilda and the Mountain King by Luke Pearson is available now from Flying Eye Books
ISBN: 978-1-911171-17-1 | 215 x 300mm | 80pp | £12.95 |
Recommended Ages 6+ | HARDBACK