Hans ten Doornkaat
Das Medium Bilderbuch
Book design: Agnès Laube, Zurich / Stuttgart
German, ca. 256 pages, ca. 200 images, 19,5 × 26 cm, softcover with flaps
Euro [D] 39.–, Euro [A] 40.–
Pre-order. Release date: June 2023
→ Picture books viewed from a new perspective: text-to-image ratio, specifications, design, reading directions, technical requirements and more
Everyone knows it and immediately has a picture in mind: This publication is dedicated to the “picture book phenomenon.”However, it does not focus on specific books or content, but rather takes a look at the medium itself: from the technical and formal requirements of printing to the format, paper and binding and ultimately, to special versions of the medium picture book such as pop-up books or hidden-picture books.
What are flaps, pre- and postfaces, and page number 32 all about? What about the text-toimage ratio? This publication questions the effect of turning pages on the narrative dynamics, the representation of temporal processes across several pages, and playing with half-pages and cut-outs as well as all kinds of publications that turn a book into a spatial experience.
The complexity of a simple reading material has never been analyzed so comprehensively and is only possible in this form thanks to the author’s experience with the medium picture book in all its aspects and across all process stages throughout his entire professional life.The publication focuses on the medium as a whole and analyzes it as an object (of the will to create) and as a subject (whose physicality is part of the experience).
It does not forget the role of the picture book as a window to the world with regard to the promotion of reading and the function of a book within picture books (meta picture books).
The volume includes an essay on type and layout in picture books by Agnès Laube.
About the author:
Hans ten Doornkaat (born 1952) deals with the “medium of picture books” both as editor of the Atlantis publishing house and as children’s book critic for NZZ am Sonntag. For decades, he was a specialist lecturer for librarianship training courses and continuing education for teachers, a jury member and, until 2021, a theory lecturer for illustration at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts HSLU. He has curated several exhibitions on picture books, including for the Swiss National Museum.
Instrumental for his thinking about picture books, however, is the constant exchange with illustrators.