By: Jelena Jovanovic
Belgrade, Nov.21, 2009 (Serbia Today) - Marking its 20th anniversary, Creative Center Publishing House, the biggest and most popular publishing house in Serbia, which specialized in children’s books, is holding its exhibition, ‘Illustrators of the Creative Center’, in the Belgrade Museum of the Applied Arts. The exhibition was opened in September, and it will remain open until December 4th.
The Creative Center Publishing House has published over three hundred books by national writers and approximately sixty artists had been commissioned to illustrate these publications. Although these artists work been reproduced in books for children of various ages, their creative approach has developed into cohesive style which is characteristic of all of Creative Center’s books.
The illustrators of the Creative Center all draw upon the imagery of in the literature they are illustrating, taking special care to develop their characterizations close to the vision of the author. Professors Dusan Petricic and Rastko Ciric of the Faculty of Applied Art and Design in Belgrade have had a significant influence on generations of Serbian illustrators at Creative Center. The Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade wished to create an exhibition to acknowledge the contribution that these two men and their students have made when they developed the ‘Illustrators of the Creative Center’ exhibition, explained Slobodan Jovanovic, curator at the Museum of Applied Art.
Dobrosav ‘Bob’ Zivkovic was the first illustrator working for Creative Centre. During the past two decades of cooperation with the publishing house, his witty illustrations became the hallmark of the Creative Center style. His bright colors, warm characters depictions, and attention to detail represent the essential characteristics of these illustrations.
In the beginning, Zivkovic was illustrating for an animal picture books based on the stories of Simeon Marinkovic, the founder of Creative Centre. His contribution includes illustrations for almost one hundred books published by the Creative Centre.
His illustrations for the book Straight from the Shoulder are an example of the close cooperation between writers and illustrators. The book Sex for the Beginners by Jasminka Petrovic ranks among the most often translated books issued by Creative Center.
From the moment it was established, the Creative Center issued books of various profiles aimed for children of different ages. Illustrations for picture books, designed for the youngest readers, were intentionally given a pictorial structure that makes for the imagination of the child. Creative Center publishes books for children and teenagers, primary school textbooks, books for parents, and educators. Creative Centre’s close connection to creative writing informs their textbooks design by emphasizing creative thinking during the learning process.
The Creative Center was awarded prizes for book design at the 2007 Munich Book Fair and also at the Frankfort Book Fair for the textbook Music Education for the Primary School Third Forms.
The ‘new readers’ book Apple in a Basket was awarded the title of the best children book at the Belgrade Book Fair in 2002. The book Give me a Circle of Wings written by Vladimir Andric was a joint venture of Milan Pavlovic, Ivica Stevanovic and Kosta Mladenovic. These illustrators each have a different formal approach and are active in different media forms, yet they produced a cohesive set of illustrations for Give me a Circle of Wings, which was proclaimed the best book for children at the 2006 Belgrade Book Fair.
Curator Slobodan Jovanovic stressed that the illustrations in the books of Creative Center are, in fact, a small encyclopedia of contemporary Serbian illustration which demonstrate Serbian artists finding their voice and developing their unique style in yet another part of the creative world.