Spotlight: Balbusso Twins

Check out the beautiful illustrations by the Balbusso twins: Anna and Elena.

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AOI Awards


Facebook: Balbusso.twins

Twitter: @balbussotwins

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Italian twin sisters Anna and Elena Balbusso

“The twins work incredibly closely together and it is hard to imagine one without the other. “There’s no competitiveness between us,” points out Anna. “We’re not the same person though,” cautions Elena.

Each has an individual role of sorts. They both come up with the creative angles, but they agree, it is Elena who handles the more business-like jobs – the marketing, answering the emails, the website. Is it better to make art as a pair? “Yes, two is better than one,” they chorus. Anna adds: “It could get boring by yourself, it is better to have someone around.”

“We are very much influenced by Gilbert and George and by how they work together. We saw their work at the Venice Biennale.”


Toad and Pooh

Ernest H. Shepard (1879 – 1976) was an English artist and book illustrator known especially for his illustrations of anthropomorphic* characters in The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne. (more)

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Christopher Robin’s braces in Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne


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Toad’s motorcar in The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

(More from the University of Oxford)


*Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits and emotions.

Personification is the related attribution of human form and characteristics to abstract concepts such as nations, emotions and natural forces like seasons and the weather.

Both have ancient roots as storytelling and artistic devices, and most cultures have traditional fables with anthropomorphized animals as characters. People have also routinely attributed human emotions and behavioural traits to wild as well as domestic animals. (More)


Today’s assignment:

1. Use pen and ink today. (Fine nib sharpie-type pens will do.)

2. Create an animal version of your protagonist.

3. Give him/her an interesting prop (just as Toad has his motorcar and Pooh often has his honey.)

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words


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Illustrators look at an author’s written words and create complementing visual works.

Authors can reverse the process and look at an artist’s work or a photograph to construct a story.


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See more at:

Today’s Assignment: Select a piece of art or a photograph. You may choose from those shown above or select one from another source. Write a ten page short story about it.

Today’s music: Hozier– Work Song

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You may want to add some magic to your story.

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Emma Stone explains here:

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Recommended movie: Magic in the Moonlight with Emma Stone and Colin Firth: