March 24th 2018, Ben and myself went to visit the V&A to view the Winne The Pooh Exhibition.
It was a charming and wonderful exhibit, with original illustrations by Earnest Shepherd and the collaboration he had with A.A Milne in creating the loveable bear we know today.
Seeing all the illustrations and learning how E.S, drew from life and brought the characters of Whinnie the Pooh into being. His process was to sketch and sketch and sketch, to create movement on the page, even at times going over some of the original line work to keep adapting it.
This process reminded me of some of the things I do, to make sure that my work is perfected in some way shape or form.
I think the most impressive part of the exhibition was the set up itself, it had a slide, a dark room with kinetic typography on the ceiling and a voice reading from an extract of one of the stories while it animated; there were all manner of sizes of display typography and illustrations to guide you through the exhibit.
Tiny Bees with the word ‘Buzz’ near them was so simple yet I spotted everyone of them on the walls. I enjoyed the small things such as a big O with the centre hollowed out so that a small child could fit inside, there was a bed to represent story time for Christopher Robin, and even though it was fairly annoying, there was a bell hanging on a small door that opened out and closed.
There was so much interaction, which reflected how the stories are written and composed by A.A Milne’s typesetting – some of the paragraphs were formed in the shape of a tree trunk, others followed the movement of the characters, such as Kanga hoping with Piglet in her pouch. E. Shepherd’s illustrations sometimes featured over one single page, such as when Pooh got stuck in Rabbit’s hole.
It was surprising that so many cultures and other countries around the globe also enjoyed Winnie the Pooh and to learn of the different variations was quite interesting.
I am very much glad I went to this exhibition, not only to feel a connection back to my childhood, but to be inspired by such a humorous writer and an incredible illustrator who’s work had so much movement as if ready to animate itself.