Text in image

Everyone carries within themselves one illustration that brightened up and adorned their childhood.

December 2010

Even more than the stories, people remember the illustrations – illustrations which instil a love of reading and art into youngsters. Most of the illustrations are sparklingly witty and supplement the text by stimulating the reader’s imagination.

The old guard of fairytale illustration

The essence of illustration is the connection it enjoys with the content as communicated by the text. Slovenian illustrators have demonstrated their skill in doing this abroad, as shown by the fact that they have received numerous international awards for their work. Slovenian illustrators have always maintained a presence at events abroad, such as the Bratislava Biennale of Illustration and the Belgrade Book Fair, which awards the ‘Golden Quill’. They also take part in the Children’s Book Fair in Bologna, among others, which features a special section devoted to illustration.

Marlenka Stupica

Marlenka Stupica was born on 17 December 1927 in Ljubljana. She studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, graduating in 1950, and has worked with the Mladinska Knjiga publishing house for over 50 years; in that time she has illustrated and worked on over 100 children’s books and picture books, the most recent being Drevo pravljic (‘Tree of Fairytales’), published this year. She has received a number of awards for her work, including the Belgrade ‘Golden Quill’ award in 1966 and 1973, the BIB Golden Plaque in Bratislava in 1969, 1971 and 1977, a Prešeren Fund Award in Ljubljana in 1972, and the ‘Best Slovenian Children’s Book’ award in 1993 and 2000. In 1994 she was cited on the IBBY Seville Honour List and received a Levstik lifetime achievement award in 1999.

Ančka Gošnik Godec

Ančka Gošnik Godec was born on 5 June 1927 in Celje. In 1948 she was accepted at the Academy of Fine Arts, from which she graduated several years later. She has had over 30 exhibitions at home and abroad and received a number of awards for her work; these include three international Belgrade ‘Golden Quill’ awards, the Smrekar and Levstik lifetime achievement awards (1997 and 2001), and an international IBBY award in 2002.

Marjanca Jemec Božič

Marjanca Jemec Božič was born on 16 September 1928 in Maribor. After grammar school she enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana. She has taken part in many group exhibitions and has also had over 20 exhibitions devoted to her own work. Her awards include the Prix Japon in 1971, an award for her UNICEF ‘Children in the Village’ greetings card in 1974, the 1981 Kajuh Award and a Levstik lifetime achievement award in 2003.

Jelka Šubert Reichman

Jelka Šubert Reichman was born in 23 August 1939 in Ljubljana. One of her special achievements was having her work appear on a set of Slovenian stamps – one of them, on a Valentine’s Day theme, was ‘Stamp of the Week’ in the USA in 2003. Many of her illustrations have appeared on greetings cards and postcards. She has produced seven cards for UNICEF and occasionally organises exhibitions of her work (over 20 solo exhibitions to date). She has also taken part in international exhibitions.

Marija Vogelnik

Marija Vogelnik was born on 15 October 1914, graduating in architecture in 1939 under Jože Plečnik. She was the only Slovenian illustrator to feature in Bettina Hürlimann’s 1965 anthology of modern world children’s illustration. She received the ‘Young Generation’ award in Belgrade in 1958 for her illustrations for young people, a Belgrade ‘Golden Quill’ award in 1975 and the Smrekar lifetime achievement award in 2004.

Milan Bizovičar

Milan Bizovičar graduated in 1949 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana and then embarked on studies at Gabrijel Stupica’s special painting school. He has received a number of Levstik Awards and received a lifetime achievement award at the 6th Slovenian Biennale of Illustration in 2004.

Štefan Planinc

Štefan Planinc was born on 8 September 1925 in Ljubljana and completed his specialisation in painting in 1965. He later travelled to Paris on a scholarship. He received a Prešeren Fund Award for his work in 1965 and a Jakopič Award in 1984.

Melita Vovk Štih

Melita Vovk Štih, born in 1928 in Bled, graduated from Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts in 1951, specialising subsequently in graphic arts. She has received a number of awards for illustration, including the Levstik Award in 1957 and 1965.

Alenka Sottler

Alenka Sottler was born on 24 October 1958 in Ljubljana. She completed her postgraduate studies in painting at Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts in 1983. She has been recognised four times at the Slovenian Biennale of Illustration and received many other awards, including the Grand Prix from the children’s jury at the World Biennale of Illustration Bratislava (BiB) and awards for selection as part of the ‘Emperor’s New Illustrations’ at Bologna Book Fair. Her work has been chosen three times for the National Museum of American Illustration’s annual exhibition in New York. This year she received the main award for illustration at the 3rd Croatian Biennale of Illustration for her work on Niko Grafenauer’s book Prividi (‘Visions’); she also received a merit award for the same illustrations from 3x3 Magazine of Contemporary Illustration, New York.

Zvonko Čoh

Zvonko Čoh began working as a freelance artist after graduating in painting from Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts and Design in 1980. His major awards include a Belgrade ‘Golden Quill’ in 1983, a Prešeren Fund Award in 1999 and the Hinko Smrekar Award in 1995, 2006 and 2010. In 2003 he received an award for the most beautiful children’s book and made the IBBY Honour List in Cape Town in 2004.

Text by Hana Souček Morača, Sinfo January 2011