Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Night Before Christmas/ Amazing Artist Feature

This starts off talking about The Night Before Christmas but finishes with lovely watercolour, pencil and cut-paper illustrations, so please bear with my rambling ;D

Written by Clement C Moore for his many children back in the eighteenth century, this seems to have had a hundred different books published for it - some are very jolly, and others are quite lovely picture books. I don't actually like 'jolly'.

I only vaguely knew of this poem-story, until last year I reviewed the really unique version illustrated by Himmapaan (very very amazing artist on DeviantART). It's definitely my favourite and has lots of tricky little details, such as mouses and windows in the paper.

The Amazing Popup of Santa Claus and his Reindeer

Sadly, most of the visitors last year were looking for the much less artistic, but more suitable for children, Recordable Storybook version from Hallmark (which had sold out and was selling for up to five times the original price second hand *shakes head with the disbelief of one with no grandchildren*)

So today I am both posting up the lyrics (is it lyrics for a poem? Or just words?) so that I can stop looking for them and showing off some of his fine and fancy artworks.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

The Top Ten Unique Night Before Christmas Books

The Night Before Christmas is a classic poem that children everywhere enjoy and adults remember with nostalgia., There are hundreds of children's storybooks available (and even a few for adults!) so where do you start? From pop-ups, to cut-outs, to r...

Right, good, splendid, and now for the pretties. Niroot Puttipipat is a painstakingly detailed artist with a lot more patience than me! Recently taking Bronze in the Books category of the Association of Illustrators' annual award: Images 34 - the Best of British Contemporary Illustration 2010 for this lovely artwork:

The Frog Princess, from Myths and Legends of Russia, published by The Folio Society.

Himmapaan works in detailed and intricate watercolours:

Quatrain 70 and Quatrain 74 from the 150th anniversary edition of Edward FitzGerald's translation of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, published by The Folio Society, in a limited (sold out) edition of 1,000 copies

Very detailed pencilwork in moleskines (must dig mine out again)

and of course, the cut-paper silhouettes.

This is a greeting card based off the final spread of The Night Before Christmas: A Magical Cut-Paper Edition (more images through link)

I recently bought a few of the prints that are actually available (most are commissions so can't be sold):

(I went on a buying spree of pretties - these were by far my mother's favourites!)

Most of Himmapaan's work is now exclusively for The Folio Society, but there are some illustrated books available:

The Musicians of Bremen - a beautifully illustrated version

The Musicians of Bremen is one of those fairly well known and classic fables from the Brothers Grimm, here retold and wonderfully illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat. If you know the story, then I must emphasise the beauty of the art. If you do not know...

The Night Before Christmas: A Magical Cut-Paper Edition

I discovered this book through the artist, Niroot Puttapipat - someone I personally consider a friend,and have watched in delight since I discovered their artwork on DeviantART. I am an enormous fan of their work, which also prompted me to start tryi...

That I've seen on Amazon:

The gorgeous Red Fairy Book, published by the Folio Society in 2008, has popped up on Amazon for only $225.

You can see the illustrations here in this gallery.

There are cheaper (un-illustrated) versions of The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang around, of course! And there are a few more books illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat around - I discovered that the dragon on the cover of a fantasy book by Charles Ashton that had been sitting on my shelf for ages was by Himmapaan!

This artist is definitely one of my inspirations/influences and has set me a benchmark to try and reach one day ^_^

1 comment:

  1. Love every single image and ma delighted to have discovered blog


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