Sunday, 23 August 2009
Robert Brandon's introduction to the 1935 edition of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales describes Joyce Mercer's style as 'inimitable and peculiarly individualistic; her treatment exemplary. Children cannot fail to be interested in the marvellous colour drawings and the subtle humour of the black and white; and grown ups will appreciate them also.'
The craft of the line in these illustrations is extremely elegant and calligraphic - and, graphically, extremely satisfying, particularly in the vignettes, with their sense of balance and consistency in the character and concentration of line work. They would look quite at home next to a treble clef. Unfortunately, these 1992 prints of the illustrations do not do justice to the precision and sharpness of the original drawings. The colour illustrations have a 'stained glass' look to them and use flowing black lines to contain some areas of colour, while other colours bleed into each other to create a marble effect.