Angela Barrett’s Joan of Arc

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Illustrations by Angela Barrett from a retelling of the story of Joan of Arc (text by Josephine Poole).

The following is from a profile of the illustrator published in The Guardian, 2006, by Joanna Carey. It’s just as you would hope…

“This strong feeling for the past extends to Barrett’s own surroundings – entering her mansion flat, in a Dickensian part of London, is like stepping into one of her illustrations. She works at a huge desk beneath a mirror, surrounded by artworks and curios. Aside from a digital radio and a propelling pencil, her life seems untouched by modern technology – certainly there’s no computer. And if she needs a light box, she simply pushes aside the tasseled drapes and tapes her rough drawings to the window in order to trace images on to watercolour paper.”

And this is fascinating:

“When I draw figures, I like to distort them a little – it heightens the emotion. I draw them again and again until they are just out of proportion.” She takes the same liberties with perspective, and her illustrations frequently have an illusory sense of theatre, with vistas opening up unexpectedly as the page turns. “When I’m travelling I love those fleeting glimpses you get between buildings, or through trees – it’s lucky I don’t drive; I’d always be turning for a second look … I love the way you are just left with a memory – it’s the lure of the unattainable.”

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