Illustrator Rose Blake gives a kid-friendly update for David Hockney's art guide A History of Pictures

A reimagining of an art theory essential aims to bring the history of art alive for a young audience.

A few years ago saw the release of A History of Pictures: From the Cave to the Computer Screen, an art history book by painter David Hockney and critic Martin Gayford. A serious piece weighing in at almost 400 pages, the book perhaps wasn't an obvious contender for a children's market adaptation, but that's exactly what original publisher Thames & Hudson have done, enlisting the aid of one of the UK's best illustrators along the way.

Rose Blake has lent her charming style to A History of Pictures for Children, a 'simplified' version of the original book with an entirely new chapter on drawing with previously unpublished material and new examples of contemporary picture-making like video games and cartoon animations. The book is told through conversations between David and Martin, who talk about art with inspiring simplicity and clarity. Rose’s illustrations meanwhile illuminate the narratives of both authors to bring the history of art alive for a young audience.

Although this book is primarily aimed at children, Thames & Hudson hope its meaningful and appealing contents enables it to become an introductory text for adults looking to delve into the world of pictures without it seeming intimidating or elite.

This isn't the first time Rose and David have joined forces for children's lit; last year she published the activity book Meet the Artist: David Hockney, which gave kids the chance to bounce ideas off classic Hockney works. Anyone confused by this combination of 'high' and 'low' culture should perhaps take another look at David's work, with all its bright colours and naive stylings.


A History of Pictures for Children is out September 6th 2018.

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