If you're a fan of Alexander McCall Smith's novels, particularly the 44, Scotland Street, Corduroy Mansions and von Igelfeld series, you'll be very familiar with the work of the books' illustrator Iain McIntosh. I love the way his beautifully simple, characterful pictures match the text, pointing up a significant moment, drawing out a detail, furthering the whimsy just a bit, so I've chosen an example from the latest Scotland Street volume, Bertie Plays The Blues, just for the fun of showing it.
Struggling with their newborn triplets, art gallery owner Matthew and his wife Elspeth find themselves in need of domestic help, and a local agency's name causes Elspeth to remark, "Have you noticed how everybody calls themselves solutions? There are kitchen solutions, office solutions, travel solutions and so on. Lots of solutions."
'She was right, thought Matthew. Perhaps his gallery could be called Art Solutions or even Wall Solutions. One did not associate solutions with the art world, but he saw no reason why one should not. Perhaps when they had decided to paint the Sistine Chapel roof they had called up Ceiling Solutions, or Renaissance Solutions. He allowed his thoughts to drift for a moment. We've got this ceiling, you see, and we were wondering ... Could you give us a quote?'
I'm currently reading the second of Jane Duncan's My Friends novels to be re-issued by Millrace Books. A few months ago I greatly enjoyed My Friends the Miss Boyds and found it a distinctive and refreshing book (there's a post on it here), so I'm delighted to now have My Friend Monica which encompasses a later period in Janet Sandison's life, a wartime friendship and Janet's marriage to Twice.
I mention this in a post to do with illustration as Millrace have again used a striking design by Kate Baylay for the jacket. I look forward to seeing more of her work in the future.