We’re delighted to have the brilliant creative team behind Myth Match on the LKP children’s blog today; talking inspiration, creative collaboration and world myths.
Hello, do introduce yourselves…
We are Becky Bolton and Louise Chappell and work under the creative partnership of Good Wives and Warriors.
Where does your name stem from?
It’s just the etymology of our names actually. Rebecca is Hebrew and means to be bound to one’s husband or a good wife. Louise comes from Louis and means Warrior. It’s a hard thing choosing a name but we still love it – even if it takes a while to spell out the email address!
Can you describe your book in no more than 5 words?
A Fantastical Mythical Beast Flipbook
Tell us about the particular inspiration behind your book?
The idea for this book came from our love of mythical beasts. Not only the aesthetic, but the stories behind them. We’ve also always enjoyed the principle of the surrealist game, The Exquisite Corpse, so this book managed to combine both these joys. It’s also really fun to make silly animal fusions and mash-ups!
Was Myth Match a fun project to work on? Did it bring up any interesting challenges?
It was really fun but a lot of work. We particularly enjoyed having the chance to research and select the beasts and write the text. The drawings themselves were a joy to create and it really challenged us, as they were full, rich colour which was new for us. There were some challenges like working with a template to make sure all the beasts fitted together, but also the challenge to make the book work as a whole.
Do you have a regular drawing routine?
For this book, we did need to be quite strict on ourselves to get all the drawings done for the deadline.
We spent a lot of time researching the animals and making the list at the beginning of the process so we knew which beasts we were going to include. We tried to get a varied bunch of ‘types’ but also from all parts of the world. This then meant that we could divide them up and each of us would make a start researching the beasts and getting started on drawing and painting. We usually tried to work on each other’s beasts as well so that there is a collaborative process going on between each other as well.
We would sketch out the beast using all the sections of animals that we’d selected. We then paint them using inks and watercolours and add black fineliner.
Where is your favourite place to find inspiration or a starting point for the Myth Match illustrations?
We usually started off by seeing if there were existing interpretations of the beasts on the Internet, to give us an idea of how artists have previously interpreted them. It’s also quite easy to make the beast from scratch using the original animals.
For example, the Griffin has the body, tail and back of a lion and head and wings of an eagle, which means we can image search the animal parts to make the splice ourselves.
Also, the story and cultural references of the beast would inform how it looked. So, if the beast was Aztec, we’d use Aztec pattern work or if it lived in the Brazilian jungle, we’d use lush rainforest plants around it.
What was your favourite creature that you discovered in the research for the book, and what is your favorite new Myth Match Combination?
There are so many [mythical creatures] to choose from!
I think we didn’t fully appreciate this until holding the book and actually getting to play with it. We keep finding crazy combinations that we hadn’t seen before.
Our favourite beast was probably the two-tailed and mischievous cat shaped BAKENEKO (above) which is a Japanese Yokai or spirit creature known for its shape-shifting trickery and penchant for revenge. It was also based on the GWAW cats Stephen and Linda!
And some of our favourite beast combinations are: ITZPAPANEKO – the crazy Japanese cat and Mexican moth wings, the ARKANRAJ – the Persian horned rabbit with the bottom of the pink crystal Manx hedgehog and a MAPINRIR – the Brazilian red sloth with the head of a white wolf.
Basically we love any creature with the bottom of the MAPINGUARI (below) because it makes them all look like they are wearing furry red trousers!
Do you ever hide things in your illustrations e.g. pets, or family members?!
Yes, sneaky little mementos do make their way into our work from time to time… We did a painting last year for Facebook in Davos (below) which was world map made from people’s faces. We popped loads of our friends and family in there!
What’s do you like best (and least!) about working together? Do each of you have different drawing styles? Have you created a joint GWAW style?
When we first started working together (ten years ago this year!) we had very different styles but over time they have merged to form the signature GWAW style.
It is hard to think of negative things about working together but I could list so many positives! I think collaboration requires a good fit of temperament, values, work ethic and taste – it is certainly not for everyone, especially when working creatively.
What is the strangest thing you’ve drawn on so far?
Painting a toilet may be up there with the strange[st] things we have painted. The toilet painting was for an art installation called ‘A New Mingin’ Dynasty by S.H. Artt’. It was for an exhibition at the Lighthouse in Glasgow that aimed to blur the boundaries between art and design. We created a traditional painted ceramic installation that you might find in an ornate bathroom. We created decorative motifs using the bacterias, viruses and microscopic growths found on toilets).
We have also worked on giant pinatas, electric cars, a massive Tic-Tac box and a host of paintings in very strange situations. Hopefully there will be the chance to exhibit it again!
Your books take the reader on a fantastic journey around the world – where are the most amazing places that you’ve visited?
We have been really lucky in terms of travel. I think we were very fortunate to have become students at the beginning of really cheap airfares. Any time we sold paintings at art school or had the opportunity after graduating, we have travelled. Three years ago, we went trekking in Nepal and then made a painting with a women’s charity in Kathmandu which was really special. There are so many places in the world we still want to visit, especially in the context of making artworks, so maybe new places have the priority over revisits at the moment.
Thank you for joining us today Good Wives and Warriors, and for creating one of the most magical flipbooks we’ve ever seen!
Take a look and start creating your own mythical, magical combinations…