Illustrations by Jan Marcin Szancer for the children’s book Orle gniazdo. Podania, legendy i baśnie wielkopolskie by Stanisław Świrko, 1971. (source)
Amazing illustration by Jan Marcin Szancer
I mentioned him before and want to share even more pictures of Professor Blotsby (Or if you’re Polish: Pan Kleks) by an absolutely amazing artist, Jan Marcin Szancer. Of course, when the whole trilogy about Kleks with Szancer’s illustrations appeared in e-shops, I ordered it straight away and now can admire all this beauty outside the monitor.
It’s easy to guess why I like the ol’ professor this much. ;) Besides a funny look and being a kid at heart, he’s a great inventor, can fly by himself, and generally is more than meets the eye.
Oh, and that fatman in the 6th picture is Anemon Stockfield (Anemon Levkonik), a gardener from “Mr. Blotsby’s Tryumph”.
Little Mermaid- Jan Marcin Szancer (1902- 1973) From „Hans Christian Andersen- Baśnie”- Polish translation of H. C. Andersen selected fairy tales, from 1990, which at the time was XVth edition of the book.
I don’t know what age I was, when I was given that book. Probably about 5, although it’s possible the book was in household even way before that, as my mom used to read us a great lengths of fairy tales, fables and nurseries.
Nevertheless, since the moment I flickered through the pages, this illustration caught my eye and imagination, and haven’t let go ever since (making Little Mermaid one of first stories I’ve read on my own). Very often I was going back to this book and opening it on this picture, from time to time reading one story, or another. That was specially great feast of vision, when I was sick and my mind ran on different level. But it was also wonderful path to follow on quiet afternoon, when thoughts were dancing with the last rays of Sun, colouring with the sky in gold and red. And even though I much preferred Donkeyskin, Fairies, or Mother Hulda, very often I found my self driven to that book instead.
You see, for most of my life I was not considering myself going any near art. I liked to draw, that’s true, but I was never praised for my works by anyone. No, as a matter of fact I was publicly laughed at by good half of my school. Seriously.
In my mind I never had great skills, nor smoothest approach, that everyone (in past) expected, but I was creative and original with my ideas and never traced elements from other pictures, and thought it was the most important. Still ever since, even if I drew, or painted anything, I kept it to myself, specially, that I was the “writing one”.
That’s also why I loved (and love) this picture so much.
There’s something about the composition, about the pose and expression, colours and contrasts, that makes it readable, and yet so dramatic. One could argue, that it’s not very in depth, or elaborately coloured, and probably would be right. Still if the simple lines and hues can create such expressive picture, all more reasons to find in it a drop of golden gift.
The fact, that the lines are “not perfect” and yet the painting is so ethereal, the fact, that not all elements look correct, but yet the author remembered about the oysters on her tail, gave me solace. Also hope to believe, if not a “flawless” piece can affect imagination and emotions so vividly, then maybe storytelling is a crucial part in the process. And maybe, just maybe, one can go with their style, and their flaws, and still inspire others.
I wish, truly and deeply, that one day I, too, will be able to create something of seemingly careless lines and colouring, that will carry so many feeling and hopes, as this picture does. That I’ll make something so light-weight, yet expressive and filled with a story, as Mr Szancer did.
And I really hope, it’s not matter of “having-or-not” gift, but of self-discovery and self-trust, that one has to journey to. So thank You Mr Szancer for showing me, that dreams can be put into picture, to dream them better and with others.
It really is a picture I measure all others by.
The story behind the painting is, in my case, much longer and more twisted, that one might expect, but I guess, that’s the thing about art; it holds emotions and allows thought to grow.