Fantastical, otherworldly beasts and creatures have always captivated the minds of humans. Every culture has their own interpretations – whether it be dragons, unicorns or nymphs – embedded in ancient legend, myth or more modern fantasy films, television or novels.
London-based creative duo Becky Bolton and Lousie Chappell, aka Good Wives and Warriors, have been busy illustrating 64 different mythical creatures for a beautiful new children’s flipbook with Laurence King, called Myth Match. Each beautifully detailed creature exerts its own personality within a specific habitat, such as the playful cat, a dinosaur that roams the forest, a bright pink sloth or a fierce dragon.
Readers can mix and match the fronts and backs of the creatures to create all kinds of their own versions – there are apparently over 1,000 possible creations to make. Above the illustrations a description for each animal has been written by commissioning and development editor of Laurence King’s children’s books, Chloe Pursey, with each sentence also able to be mixed and matched as you can see here.
Myth Match: A Fantastical Flipbook of Extraordinary Beasts is available now for £14.99 from Laurence King.
This project needed to have an interactive element, says Lousie, so the reader is involved in the creative process – thus the flipbook concept was chosen.
“We have always been interested in using the format of ‘consequences’, also known as ‘the exquisite corpse’, where an image is made up of a variety of different elements that can be interchanged,” she says.
“We were asked by Lawrence King for some possible interactive children’s book ideas and the flip book idea was one of our first thoughts.”
It was important for the book to include mythical beasts from around the world, with a fairly even spread, which involved a lot of research for Lousie and Becky.
“That said, there was quite a lot of repetition. Dragons for example are found in a number of different cultures, so we tried to make sure that there was a good mixture of different beasts from different places of origin,” says Louise.
Good Wives and Warriors worked in pen, ink, watercolour, gouache and some digital editing in Adobe Photoshop to create each of the creatures. The duo began by researching details, and piecing together resourced imagery before drawing initial sketches.
“The images were built up over a couple of days, [with us] adding layers of colour and detail,” Louise says.
“The hardest part was composing each beast to fit the central join templates as it restricted the shape and the movement of each creature.”
Good Wives and Warriors will be launching Myth Match at Telling Tales in Hackney, London on Saturday May 26. There will be a workshop for children and mask making.
Louise and Becky are also currently in talks over future illustrated books, with a few ideas for future titles.
Good Wives and Warriors are mainly known for their large-scale installations and live art pieces, as well as commissions for brands such as The BBC, Penguin, Facebook, Adidas and Swatch.