Andreja Brulc's Blog

Illustration / Part 1: Trees

Posted in Books, Children's, Illustrations, Photography by andrejabrulc on 03/10/2016

I feel like a tree. A tree doesn’t feel a duty to start doing something about the earth from which it comes. A tree just has to bear fruit, and leaves and blossoms. It doesn’t feel grateful to the earth.
– Abbas Kiarostami

I think the tree is an element of regeneration which in itself is a concept of time.
– Joseph Beuys

14_trees-lonley-treeTo mark my 10th anniversary of graphic design and illustration, I shall be posting 12 themes that have most commonly ‘appeared’ throughout my work – something that I only realised while gathering material for the new website during the summer. The fact that the largest body of artworks I have created thematically for different projects consists of trees, to a ‘tree hugger’ this came as no surprise but rather as a satisfying delight! While most of these artworks were created for Beletrina book covers (a literary imprint of Beletrina Academic Press, Slovenia) and for art/children’s picture book projects where I was able to influence the decision-making in the image creation, I have recently been involved with other projects that specifically required ‘tree’ related artworks – a school textbook for the CAPE (Unit 2) Geography (A-level) for the Caribbean Educational Publishers, Trinidad & Tobago and a website, Bean’s Trees and Shrubs, for the International Dendrology Society, UK.

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I had been photographing trees well before I embarked on a career change from the art world in 2006. I have been particularly interested in their various forms (exploring light and shadow, shapes and textures) and in their different settings (geographical locations and climates), as well as viewing them from a range of natural conditions (growing and decaying) and that of human impact on them (signage, graffiti and incisions). While some of these photos were used in their entirety depending on the subject matter, many, on the other hand, served as a starting point for experiments as the trees got incorporated into a new range of compositions and environments, as well as fragmented or transformed into new shapes and textures, through the use of various techniques. The tree subject is divided into sections – forests, lonely trees, crowns, trunks, branches, leaves and roots – depending on a particular project.

 

1. Forests

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity … and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.
– William Blake

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
– John Muir

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2. Solitary trees

Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.
– Winston Churchill

I have to stay alone in order to fully contemplate and feel nature.
– Caspar David Friedrich

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3. Crowns

A tree against the sky possesses the same interest, the same character, the same expression as the figure of a human.
– Georges Rouault

No traveler, whether a tree lover or not, will ever forget his first walk in a sugar-pine forest. The majestic crowns approaching one another make a glorious canopy, through the feathery arches of which the sunbeams pour, silvering the needles and gilding the stately columns and the ground into a scene of enchantment.
– John Muir

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4. Trunks

If you look closely at a tree you’ll notice it’s knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully.
– Matthew Fox

Just touching that old tree was truly moving to me because when you touch these trees, you have such a sense of the passage of time of history. It’s like you’re touching the essence, the very substance of life.
– Kim Novak

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5. Branches

I often lay on that bench looking up into the tree, past the trunk and up into the branches. It was particularly fine at night with the stars above the tree.
– Georgia O’Keeffe

Instinct must be thwarted just as one prunes the branches of a tree so that it will grow better.
– Henri Matisse

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6. Leaves

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
– Albert Camus

Matisse draws what I call the essence of the plants. He leaves a shape open. He’ll do a leaf and not close it. Everybody used to say, oh, I got it all from Matisse, and I said, ‘Not really.’
– Ellsworth Kelly

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7. Roots

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
– Marcus Garvey

You can’t hate the roots of a tree and not hate the tree. You can’t hate Africa and not hate yourself.
– Malcolm X

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If a tree dies, plant another in its place.
– Carolus Linnaeus

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Children’s Picture Book: Barvice / Feb 2011

Posted in Books, Children's by andrejabrulc on 04/02/2011

Children’s picture book of poetry on 12 colours by Feri Lainšček and illustrated and designed by Andreja Brulc, called Barvice (Coloured Pencils), was released by a Slovene publisher Franc-Franc.

The book is part of a multimedia project for children called World of Colours. The project, which will take place next year in conjunction with Maribor 2012, European City of Culture, will be carried out by a group of four people: Feri Lainšček, Janja Vidmar, Benka Pulko and Andreja Brulc.

I responded directly to each poem and each colour is treated on a separate double-page spread. The book was therefore very complex and ambitious. It demanded considerable technical skills, including understanding of 6-colour print technology as the book includes gold and silver inks.

The illustrations are, I believe, highly innovative and original – a view supported by reviews. They show a variety of technical skills, not only in construction but also in using mixed media, combining various techniques, including drawing, photography collaging, photomontaging and digital manipulation. The process involved a cut and paste technique of many pieces of paper in various tones, patterns and textures, representing the 12 colours. Many papers used were from my collection and included recycled paper shopping bags and napkins, collected during various travels around the world over the years. I also used inks and scrim tape in order to achieve the desired textures and colours. Shapes were pasted or collaged together in order to construct each element of the image in a playful way.

The book was one of the five books nominated for Večernica and Desetnica (2011), the two highest awards for children’s and youth’s literature in Slovenia. The book was named ‘Book of the Month’ (March 2011) by Lunin Festival, one of most important children’s festivals in Slovenia.

Interesting and vivid illustrations … incorporate different kind of images as a whole, both from the point of technique (photography, cut out images, drawing) and from the point of selected motives (a visual translation of the poet’s words).
– Dragica Haramija & Janja Batič, Sodobnost 10 (2013): 1450–1452

I enjoyed from the start how Andreja followed and understood my verse, which she then interpreted and included in her own visual way of thinking. The result was new networks of meanings and symbols, perhaps even artistic expression that goes beyond literary and visual art.
– Feri Lainšček, quoted in Zdenko Kodrič, Večer (Večernica), 22 Sep 2011

… more than wonderful …
– Zdenko Kodrič, Večer (Večernica), 22 Sep 2011

Her first children’s book embraces the poetry in a sophisticated and artistic manner, and has caught the rhythm of Lainšček’s literary thoughts …
– Liljana Klemenčič, Večer, 4 July 2011

… highly innovative and exploratory …
Sensa (Za navdih), 3 Feb 2011


The picture book is one of the five books (out of 261 books) nominated for Večernica on 14 June 2011. Večernica is the most prestigious award for youth literature in Slovenia. The results will be announced in Sep 2011.

3rd Croatian Biennial of Children’s Illustration

Posted in Exhibitions by andrejabrulc on 01/06/2010
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