Enough and no more

Taro Miura Ton book illustration of builder and wheelbarrow

Ton. A simple idea for a book, looking at weights. But beautifully executed by Japanese illustrator Taro Miura. The Japanese have really adopted the mantle of illustration these days and the clean, succinct and confident lines of these images are some of the best.

I love the simple, sequential story form in children’s books. It’s a format that can free an illustrator to really make strong symbolic images. I spent many hours as a child looking at The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a seminal book in this style.

The stencil or pochoir illustration really appeals to me. Childlike yet sophisticated, like all the best illustration. This work isn’t about free flowing pencil lines and washed over colours. It is a short sharp shock of image and word.

It seems to me the rigidity of the process, or style – as these illustrations or probably computer generated – of stencilling reduces images to their individual elements, so that they verge on the pictogram.

Miura’s work certainly does. And his other books on construction and tools suggest he has a bit of a thing going for industrial imagery, and the opportunities it gives for exploiting silhouette in illustration form. How lovely it would be to see someone like this let loose on actual signage, especially for a children’s space.

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