Alfonsas Augaitis. Iliustracija V.Žilinskaitės knygai
Romantikos institutas. 1968
Kastytis Juodikaitis. Iliustracija T.Tilvyčio knygai
Irena Daukšaitė-Guobienė. Iliustracija lietuvių liaudies
pasakai Gerai, bet nelabai. 2002, akvarelė, guašas, pieštukas
for the Most Beautiful Book
by Rima Povilionytė
For book illustrators,
the liberalized book publishing business in the country must have had
some of the worst implications, above all shrinking numbers of commissions
from the publishers.
The drama is even more painful, as the memories of Lithuanian book illustrators
legendary Golden Age are still alive. With the generation
of the 1950s, Lithuanian book illustrators gained both local and international
acclaim. Subsequent generations continued the success and recognition
story into the 1980s. The tradition of Lithuanian book illustration
was based on imaginative and unique style of book artists. The contribution
of some most renowned graphic artists was very important too, as they
introduced some principles of painting and sheet graphic into book illustration.
The imaginative and metaphorical style of Lithuanian book illustration
school continues to be cited as a positive paradigm of book art in general.
The Golden Age concurred with the period when artists
illustrations dominated in book art. Photography in the publications
of the period was of poor quality, poor printing capabilities did not
collaborate with the development of graphic design. It was the time
when numerous books with the national sentiment were published and illustrated.
All commissions came from the state publishers.
Since the 1990s the situation has been reversed. Today besides illustrations,
the artistic effect of the book depends on numerous other factors, like
layout, typography, paper, and binding technique. In ten years Lithuanian
book illustrators have been successfully applying new technologies.
Book illustration has been merging with graphic design. The role of
a book illustrator has changed in one other respect: today an artist
enters into a dialogue with the book he illustrates. The outcome is
a new quality of relationship between the text and the image.
In Lithuania (not unlike elsewhere) the biggest part of illustrated
publications are childrens books. It is possible to speak of emerging
new types and styles in this sphere. The plot and narrative are the
elements reinstalled in illustrations for children. Yet other than childrens
books illustrated with drawings or prints are becoming more and more
scarce. The number of candidates competing to major in book illustration
(such studies are offered by the Vilnius Art Academy and Kaunas Art
Institute) keeps shrinking as well. This situation raises many questions
as to what different players around illustrated book and its illustrator
should do to preserve the former momentum of the trade.