I was surprised that Belgium artist Carll Cneut is an illustrator of children’s books. Most of his drawings seem like illustrations, but they are also kind of surreal. I can’t even say they are whimsical.
That’s not to say that I don’t like Cneut’s art. I do. After reading what Cneut had to say about his art in an interview, I think I may have a better idea of what I like about it:
It is something I always have found very important as I always believed a picture book should leave room for interpretation by the reader. A reader who should actively participate and be part of the book. I try to drag the reader into the book. … I also try to create the same demand to contribute through many other things, like often only showing the main characters in profile, but having their emotions shown through how they hold their bodies, so the reader enters into this character to imagine the facial expression. Or by spending time on the outfits of the characters, working through many layers of paint to give the clothes some life and history, so the reader should wonder why the character might wear these specific clothes, and why the clothes don’t look brand new, leaving space for the reader to imagine where this character comes from, how his life was before he ended up in this book etc… Or by adding little stories in the illustrations which have nothing to do with the main story. The funny thing is that children notice these extra little stories very quickly, whilst adults almost never notice them.
His drawings do indeed drag me in and make me wonder and make up stories about what I am looking at.
Since he is doing illustration, there are not a lot of examples of fat art; in fact, a lot of his drawings are of non-humans. But in his drawings of humans, there are almost always fat figures.