Jean Tori Books, part of the Kidgloves network, will launch its first title at Bologna this year
Jean Tori is a long-establised artist based in Italy, and the publishing will be led by her daughter Anthinula Tori, with Roy Johnson from the Kidgloves network of children's indies.
They said: "Jean Tori Books was created so that we could publish unique and special children’s books using paintings by Jean Tori.
"Jean Tori Books aims to create art-based books and The Wizards and the Whale was the perfect launch showcase for Jean’s incredibly unique paintings and wide-ranging style of artwork. We chose this book to be the first printed, published and launched in the UK and around the world.
"All of our books have followed a completely different way of creating children’s literature. Usually it is the story that is the driving force behind a book and then an appropriate illustrator is found to supply the images. At Jean Tori Books, since everything is project based around Jean, we work around the paintings that Jean creates. As the stories evolve, Jean then adds to the project painting illustrations that help connect and deepen the story line.
"Another fantastic thing about collaborating with Jean is that when we sit down to work on the book design, whatever is required can be invented in the moment. There is brainstorming and debate, and potential ideas can be painted by Jean, so we have this incredible in-house resource as she is involved from the beginning of the story idea all the way through to the final book design.
"Jean Tori Books is not your usual publishing company. This is not just because we are very project-based around Jean’s artwork, or because of the unusual process of story development alongside illustration, but also because we have chosen to present artwork that is very original and unique.
"We know that the style of art in our books is extraordinarily different, but having seen, over the last four decades, the positive and joyous reactions of children to Jean’s artwork, we have understood that the colour, complexity and humour connects with younger audiences. They are curious, challenged, intrigued, surprised and elated. We believe this is because of Jean’s choice in story-filled subject matter, tongue-in-cheek humour, clever and unusual observations and the use of colour theory.
"We also understand that stories are very important, as is the design of the book. We champion stories and subjects that we believe in, such as friendship, authenticity, exploration, imagination and cooperation. And regarding the design of the books, we gravitate toward movement, flow and surprise.
"Jean’s artwork is filled with colour. We love and adore colour and believe it is extremely important to have it in our everyday lives. Jean’s art also provides a lot of joy. As a publishing company, therefore, we hope to create books that engage audiences with stimulating and uplifting stories while at the same time showcasing amazing and beautiful artwork."
The sales UK and Export will be directed by Saltway, and the first book on the Jean Tori list, The Wizards and the Whale, will be launched on Wednesday 3 April at the Bologna book fair.