Tom Schamp - Illustration from Le livre des si (2005)

Tom Schamp is a Flemish illustrator with a long track record. He used to make a lot of work for magazines and newspapers, cd-covers and other commercial graphics, but nowadays he’s more into making picture books (he has made 15 of them in the last 5 years).

The “Literair Museum” (literary museum) of Hasselt, Belgium is having a nice exhibition of Schamps’ work which focuses mainly on this more recent work for picture books. The illustrations are far more detailed than his older work and always very humoristic. Schamp has a fascination for strange objects, little hand painted boxes, stamps, animal-shaped coffeepots, you name it… They appear in his pictures but apparently, they are real too. A whole collection of them is on display at the exhibition.

Also worth discovering is the more technical aspect of his work. Schamp uses acrylic paint to achieve the typical intensity of his colors, but he makes all the different elements of an illustration separately on pieces of cardboard, which later get scanned to be puzzled together digitally.

(Monsieur Bandit)

(Canvas documentary on Schamp and his work - Dutch language)

'The Fabulous Island of Torelore' - Tom Schamp & Sylvaine Hinglais

In the children’s book The Fabulous Island of Torelore (French: Le Fabuleux amour d'Aucassin & Nicolete; Dutch: Het heerlijke eiland van Torelore) by the French play-writer and director Sylvaine Hinglais and the Belgian award-winning illustrator Tom Schamp, Aucassin and Nicolette are looking for a place to live their love in peace. A love of which their, resp. Christian and Muslim families, don’t approve. 

They take off by boat and are shipwrecked on the amazing island of King Torelore. While the king(!) is recovering from childbirth, war brakes out, with blows of vegetables between the inhabitants of the island. Queen Torelore wins the battle and all the vegetables are gathered. The marriage of the young lovers is announced with a big party and vegetable soup. Aucassin and Nicolette remain on the island, married and happy.

Inspired by a medieval, French play, this wacky story is surprisingly modern and tells some essential truths about tolerance.  

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