Bolton Museum has opened a family-friendly exhibition, ‘Animals and Us’, which is tied together in an unusual, fresh and contemporary way - using illustrations. Black and white line drawings provide the graphic settings. These include pillars, a fireplace, an armchair, cupboards, drawers, picture frames, picket fencing, cave paintings, a weathervane, waves, grass, an ex-ray machine, a toadstool, books and trees. And Leopold, the mascot mouse, who guides visitors around, is also designed as a series of line drawings.
|Illustrated 3D armchair & mouse, with cat|
|Illustrated drawers with display|
|Illustrated book with exhibit|
|Illustrated treetrunks, foliage and giant mushroom|
|Mascot mouse, enlarged to child-size on stairway|
|Grand Hall (purple walls|
|High Street (far blue)|
|The Lodge and Farmyard (right)|
|Stuffed animals on display as Peter Rabbit & Jemima Puddleduck|
There are also 5 separate animal displays with different story themes, set in Bolton Library (which shares the same delightful building as the Museum) and the foyer. These themes include Little Red Riding Hood, The Fantastic Mr Fox, The Owl and the Pussy Cat and The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg.
|The Fantastic Mr Fox|
|Illustrated hens in Mr Fox’s bag|
|Little Red Riding Hood’s wolf (with red cape for dressing up)|
|The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg|
I was thrilled to be the illustrator commissioned to provide the line drawings, especially the character of Leopold the mouse. I used pens, fine brushes and black ink onto thick A4 paper. I scanned in my work at high resolution and cleaned up the digital files carefully before sending over, to prevent the slightest mark or dust on the scanner being magnified later along with the line drawing.
The Museum organised the enlarging (including the conversion to vector lines) and printing of these drawings onto foamboard for display. I was concerned about how wide some of the lines would end up at final life size, especially the pillars, but I think the images actually had a better impact because of the boldness of the lines. Also, the magnification of the lines accentuates their handmade look, and gives a friendly personal feel.
|Line drawings of Leopold the mascot mouse|
The exhibition opened on 3rd December 2016 and runs for 18 months.
Anna Violet is a freelance author-illustrator based in Manchester.
Check her portfolio website here, and her blog here.
Her work is also on the AOI website