A picture book about a wizard with a red magical spell book that has been passed down in his family from generation to generation. The Ugly is his faithful helper until he has a moment of weakness and disobeys his master for the sake of his wish to be made handsome. Eventually, the Ugly learns he has a magic trick he can perform himself to appear more approachable, without the need of the red spell book.
This story is both written and illustrated by Argentinian artist Pablo Bernasconi. Bernasconi’s images are a compilation of all kinds of interesting odds and ends that one familiar with tales of magic can imagine being used in potions. Even the pages with text are decoratively bordered with tendrils of foliage sprouting coloured leaves and medieval lettering, as can be seen on page 4, below. Every element methodically constructs the image and embellishes the text, feeding the readers imagination.
The third image on page 13, below, is my favourite in the book and visualises the climatic point at which the Ugly makes his mistake. The spell book is shown being thrown up in the air as colours, script and tentacles escape from it. Small painted circles and dots look like sequins and little drawn symbols add to the mysterious aura of the book. Even on the flat page, the image is given depth in the use of collage and shadow (which looks like it was added with software). The unusual composition of a birds-eye-view makes the reader feel they are looking down on the scene as the events happen.
Collage is a great way to include a diversity of visual styles whilst being cohesive as a piece of visual communication. I have begun to use these ideas in my photoetch and monoprint work, as well as in my (intended) use of typography.
Bernasconi, Pablo (2006) The Wizard, the Ugly and the Book of Shame London:Bloomsbuy