Van Dog

Picture book by Mikołaj Pasiński and Gosia Herba

Van Dog, a painter, rides to the countryside to paint a landscape. Early in the morning, he puts up an easel in a meadow, mixes paints, and quietly contemplates the scenery. Meanwhile, grassland slowly comes to life. A snail nibbles on a mushroom for breakfast, ants gather to work, children play soccer, and a giant lizard monster sets off on a journey to Tokyo. 

A lot is going on in the meadow: sheep gnaw the grass, people always hurry somewhere, aliens study the terrestrial species of plants and animals. As the day progresses, the area becomes busier and busier. A musical parade of creatures appears out of nowhere, and a long queue sets up when an ice cream cart arrives. A huge, dove-hearted monkey looks for her friend but gets preoccupied with a beautiful sunset.

Amid all these events, the determined artist struggles to finish his picture. Is he overwhelmed by all this chaos? Or perhaps the richness of meadow life is precisely the subject of his art?

“Van Dog” combines the features of a picture book with seek-and-find and comic. It is a thought-provoking story touching on the philosophy of art without being direct about the topic.

Each spread contains many different micro-scenes. There are a lot of details and dialogue, art and pop-culture references, things to look for and to laugh at. The last spread will contain a blank frame for the child to make their own drawing.

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Written and designed by Mikołaj Pasiński.
Illustrated by Gosia Herba.
Published in Poland by Harper Collins 2021.

Hardcover edition
Volume: 48 pages

Illustrations were chosen to be a part of the Illustrators Exhibition 2021 during Bologna Children’s Book Fair.