Intricate illustrations

Imagine setting off from your home in Castlemaine to wander among forests and castles in France, carrying your camera, lenses and iPad (which doubles as a light-box). You would also need heaps of zip-lock bags for collecting feathers, leaves and insect wings.
In 2019 that is what Lorena Carrington did.
She was working on the illustrations for a new book written by Sophie Masson, French Fairy Tales.
Lorena’s pictures are composed by an intricate and delicate process involving the strategic use of many photographs. Material might come from minute fragments found on the forest floor, some from the stained glass windows of a castle, some even from the strange effects caused by breaking apart a bowl of jelly. Human figures often appear in dark lyrical silhouette, in a fantastic magical world. The castle at Azay-le-Rideau in central France dates from the early 16th century, and is perhaps the most romantic of all the castles of the Loire. It stands on an island, and its graceful walls and conical turrets form a dreamy reflection in the water.
Lorena spent a week wandering through the castle and the woods, sometimes crawling through the undergrowth in waterproof trousers to photograph a strange leaf or a tiny mushroom, sometimes discovering the perfect mystical ray of light as it shone through ancient stained glass, high on a wall of the building. The book includes a fresh retelling of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, with an entrancing and dramatic illustration of the Beast who has been densely and painstakingly built from images of twigs and leaves, not to mention a handsome pair of antlers.
The depth and complexity of this picture is a perfect example of Lorena’s work.
The dark Beast dominates the foreground, and a pattern of geometric shapes suggest both a window and a prison beyond, which lies a sunlit forest.
The tiny graceful silhouette of a woman glides along a path. A hint of red roses in bloom. The shadow of rosehips. Etched into a square of stained glass, the image of a wise figure in blue. And, not to be missed, Cupid is busy with his arrow out there on the garden path. The images are mesmerising and moving, and readers of all ages will gaze at them in wonder.
The five stories are told in a way that will appeal to children, but also to adult readers who will be delighted to meet old friends.
Of considerable interest are the comments made by both Sophie and Lorena on the history and inspiration of the various elements of the collection. This is a perfect Christmas gift, one to be frequently re-read, and to be treasured on family bookshelves for many years to come. French Fairy Tales will be published by Serenity Press on November 20, and will then be available in bookshops, including Castlemaine’s Northern Books.

Lorena Carrington has illustrated a new book titled ‘French Fairy Tales’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

three × four =

error: Content is protected !!