Party time with Paddington Bear

Last week long time follower of the blog Duncan Gisby commented saying it was his birthday this week. We don’t normally do birthdays but I couldn’t resist showing off some of my favourite Ivor Wood illustrations, aptly themed too.

Party Time with Paddington, illustrated by Ivor Wood. Paddingtons Party Book 1976

Party Time with Paddington, illustrated by Ivor Wood. Paddingtons Party Book 1976

The illustration above is from Paddingtons Party Book, published way back in 1976. This, in my opinion, was during Ivor’s most prolific and greatest illustration period. He produced a huge number of illustrations during the 1970’s for mostly Paddington but also The Herbs and The Wombles. It’s here in the Party Book that I most love his artistic and care-free style. The poses that Ivor conjures up in each of the 30 pages perfectly and most importantly lovingly capture Paddington.

Paddingtons Party Book illustrated by Ivor Wood 1976

Paddingtons Party Book illustrated by Ivor Wood 1976

Ivor uses this particular style in this book and the accompanying Paddingtons Loose End Book, released around the same time. The style is more sketchy than some of his Paddington incarnations but to me it perfectly parallels that loveable, accident prone bear he so endearingly portrayed on screen. I encourage you all to hunt down a copy of this book, not just for the illustrations but also the practical tips of how to throw the perfect party!

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Charlie Chalks Island of Merrytwit

As we’re well in the realm of the amazing Charlie Chalk it is a real treat to show you all an early design for Merrytwit. It comes along with a wonderful description by Ivor himself so take the time to give it a read.

Merrytwit painted by Ivor Wood for Charlie Chalk

Merrytwit painted by Ivor Wood for Charlie Chalk

Ivor always had a passion for art beyond animation. He was an avid painter and it was always a dream to hang up his animators gloves and retire to a more quieter life painting. The reason I bring this is up is that you can see in this wonderful depiction of Merrytwit, Ivor’s clear inspiriation from surrealist and abstract artists. Whether it was intentional or not the piece really reminds me of a latter Matisse. It’s the way the colours jump off the page and the shapes aren’t exact but more impressions of what they are meant to present. I’ve added a Matisse below so hopefully you can all see where I’m coming from.

Matisse - The Snail, 1953

Matisse – The Snail, 1953

Island of Merrytwit from Charlie Chalk

Island of Merrytwit from Charlie Chalk

This style certainly suits the absurd and surreal world of Charlie Chalk. We never see the full Merrytwit in model form but we do see it those famous opening titles which again link back to the Matisse idea, with its cut out feel 2D animation and overlapping coloured fills. I have some more stuff on this intro sequence so stay tuned.