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Amelia's Anthology of Illustration

Theodora Tsentas

30th April, 2010

In Amelia Gregory's dazzlingly colourful book, illustrators artistically interpret a variety of emerging renewable technologies

When speaking of renewable energy, conversations are usually limited to solar, wind and, perhaps wave power, but rarely venture into the possibilities offered by other sustainable technologies.

Publisher and woman-of-all-(creative)trades Amelia Gregory has decided to reform this short-sighted perspective of renewable energy by inviting both professional and fledgling illustrators to depict their idea of a renewable technology to combat global warming through their art.

Renewable energies in colour

Describing herself as an 'art director, editor, graphic designer, writer, blogger, photographer, lecturer, climate activist, ceilidh caller - and book publisher,' Gregory has a background that enables her to innovatively portray the issue of climate change to an expanding class of amateur environmentalists.

Within the book's beautifully illustrated pages, forty profiles of illustrators are set alongside technologies such as the kite-balloon, bio stream power, geothermal energy, solar ink (using nanotechnology), and tidal sails.

But venture capitalists shouldn't rush out to buy a copy: the majority of the technologies in the book may well look good on paper but are decades away even from a feasibility study. Some, like the orbital solar power station, still belong in the pages of an Arthur C. Clarke novel.

And although Gregory describes her illustrators as able 'to tell a story that cannot easily be related verbally', the complexity of some of the featured technologies seems to be lost, or is completely overwhelmed, by the illustrations themselves. Unfortunately the small-print descriptions under the pictures do not sufficiently expand on each renewable technology.

The diverse and challenging world of illustration

As its title suggests, this is a book dedicated to the art of illustration. As a publisher, Gregory heads Amelia's magazine (now a website), keen to help young illustrators find a platform to portray their work. Amelia's Anthology of Illustration pays homage to the magazine's initial concept by becoming a book 'about and for illustrators': depicting the lives, artistic preferences, hardships and environmental attitudes of each of the 40 illustrators involved.

Consequently, the balance struck is undoubtedly in favour of art and the artist, with green technologies adopting a somewhat supporting role. This is not to say that illustrators alone are able to enjoy Amelia's Anthology of Illustration - the book's beautiful presentation can inspire both young and old and offer some hope in science's ability to prevent catastrophic climate change. But those expecting a detailed treatment of cutting edge renewable technologies need not apply.

Amelia's Anthology of Illustration, featuring renewable technologies to prevent catastrophic climate change by Amelia Gregory (£25 hardback, Amelia's House). Order online and get the book for £20

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