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  • Carll Cneut:Belgium Illustrator

My illustrations continue into the invisible. My readers have the freedom to complete them in their heads. This often confuses adults, but never the children.

Carll Cneut

Carll Cneut was born just across the hedge from France in Geluwe, Belgium in 1969. His father taught him to draw, and he in turn taught his two sisters. After seriously considering careers as a pastry painter and a circus artist, he decided to study Graphic Design at the Saint-Lucas Arts School in Ghent, the city where he still lives today. After school, he worked as an art director at a publicity agency. In 1996, he illustrated his first book, Varkentjes van Marsepein (Piglets of Marsepain) with the writer Geert De Kockere. They went on to collaborate on six more picture books together, mostly children's books in verse. By the end of 2000, Cneut was illustrating full-time, and in 2002, he made his writing debut with The Amazing Love Story of Mr Morf.

Cneut uses acrylics, oils, pastels, pencil, and ink to create a bright, highly-textured world overlaid with an antique patina, enabling his colors to be both saturated and subtle. Cneut loves a certain shade of red that some are beginning to call "Cneut red." Literature expert Marita Vermeulen noted, "When he was embarking upon his career as an illustrator, Cneut not only used color to draw out emotion and narrative threads in a surprising and original way, but also proved to be a master at creating effective compositions … Carll Cneut teases and challenges the reader as he takes advantage of the human ability to complete pictures. His illustrations slip and slide, peeking cheekily over the edges of the pages … This ability to draw out universal emotions and themes through his use of color, composition, and body language may be what lies at the heart of his international appeal."

His work has won the Bologna Ragazzi Award, the Prix Octogones, the Golden Insignia in Bratislava and the Woutertje Pieterse Prize. Cneut also contributes to many children's and adult magazines. His latest challenge was designing costumes for Voltaire's La Princesse de Babylon for the French theater and dance company, Josè Besprosvany. Cneut has been teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent since 2005.

Selected Bibliography

Die wundersame Liebesgeschichte des Mister Morf (The Amazing Love Story of Mr Morf) (2003) Frankfurt: Sauerländer.
The Secret of the Nightingale's Throat. By Peter Verhelst (2008) Wielsbeke: De Eenhoorn.
Dulle Griet. By Geert De Kockere (2005) Wielsbeke: De Eenhoorn.
Mijnheer Ferdinand (Mr. Ferdinand) By Agnes Guldemont (2003) Wielsbeke: De Eenhoorn.
Woeste Mie. By Geert De Kockere (2000) Wielsbeke: De Eenhoorn. [End Page 6]


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