The Conductor

The Conductor by Laëtitia Devernay (Chronicle Books, London, 2011; first published in Switzerland in 2010)

Introduced by Clare Walters

#wordlessbooks series 

In this tall and narrow format, wordless book, Laëtitia Devernay, a French artist, gives the reader a visual interpretation of music, showing the conductor perched among a cluster of trees conducting an orchestra of leaves.

Laetitia-Devernay-the-conductor_01.jpg

As the leaves swoop and swirl around the sky they morph into birds that interweave and overlap in the manner of melodies and harmonies.

Conductor_INT_mechs_pg11.jpg

Finally the conductor takes a bow, returns to earth and plants his baton in the ground, which then sprouts leaves of its own.

DSC_0124.JPG

stack-of-paper-png-stack_of_books-1331px

Laëtitia Devernay took the Book Illustration and Overall Winner prizes in the V&A Illustration Awards 2012 for The Conductor.

Laëtitia Devernay is a French artist who trained in Strasbourg, and at the École nationale supérieure des arts appliqués Olivier de Serres in Paris. She works as a graphic designer and teaches illustration to children. In The Conductor, her first book, she weaves a wordless story of a fantastical conductor who summons leaves from the trees, directing them to take flight as a flock of birds that swoops in formation above his head. In explaining how she created it she says,

‘I wanted to make the Conductor a silent hero. What does he do when he is away from his musicians? How does he find inspiration? Like me, he looks to nature. To create a living forest I thought about the imagery of music; the strings, the scrolls, the bow tie and swallow tailed suit. The horizontality of the score became the verticality of the trees, sheets turned into feathers, birds into notes. I used pure imagery to tell my story so that it is open to the interpretation of the reader. I also think it’s nice to represent music with a totally wordless illustrated book.

I haven’t represented a piece in particular but an air in general. A swarm of birds announces the moves of violins, a unique row in a desert sky represents an oboe soloist…an entire symphony…then, silence, while the small conductor takes a bow. It’s a story that can be read over and over, as in nature, everything changes, but the cycle continues.’

hero

www.thestoryofbooks.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s