Illustration of the title page of the now publicly known book Ferda the Ant, which became an inspiration for short children's films. Ondřej Sekora considered ants to be an animal species that has something to pass on to children. The witty and energetic Ferdy is not afraid to try anything new and everything goes right for him. But in order not to bore the children so much, Ondřej Sekora added colourful characters to other characters, such as Bug Butterfingers, who added a grotesque element to the plot.He himself was very inspired by contemporary cinema, but unfortunately he mostly failed to apply the knowledge from cinema in practice. The drawing presented here is a design for the cover of a book in prose - Ferdy the Ant. The book originally had only 14 colour illustrations and 69 black-and-white ones, but in 1958 the proportion of black-and-white and colour illustrations was more or less equal. Interestingly, to make things easier, the original inscription on the door "Work of all kinds" has been blacked out in white and transcribed into Finnish for the foreign language edition.
Ondřej Sekora, the Author:
Ondřej Sekora collected butterflies and bugs, played sports, read a lot and liked to draw. He originally studied law and then painting at UMPRUM in Prague, founded the magazine Sport and promoted rugby in our country. He also devoted himself to music. Ferdy the Ant was created in Ondřej Sekora's mind in Paris in 1927. He did not have a polka dot scarf and the pictures were black and white. Back then, he was still a caricature of himself - a young man who was more of a troublemaker than a worker, who got drunk, fought, and pulled all sorts of pranks. But the cartoons were the birthplace of the first characters, which took on a familiar form around 1933. Josef Hokr, who urged Sekora to rewrite the poems into prose, also helped him form the character of Ferdy the Ant. Ferda gradually turns from a troublemaker into a rather mischievous boy, and subsequently, in Ferdy's syllabary, into a teacher who gives the letters in an accessible form in shapes that children know intimately. His approach to teaching the children was very sensitive - he gave them the idea, in a cartoonish way, that they already knew what he was trying to convey. Ondřej Sekora considered Ferda to be his best work. Unfortunately, the fate of Ondřej Sekora was not always connected only with children's laughter. In 1941, he was fired from Lidové noviny and banned from freelancing. His wife Ludmila was of Jewish descent, so he tried to have his wife and son baptized and contracted a church marriage. Unfortunately, he was still deported to a labor camp and his wife to Terezín. Although his family survived the war, his views were strongly influenced and the communist authorities used his work to promote themselves. However, he produced countless works that made him immensely popular, especially with children; he was behind the first attempts at television broadcasting for children, unofficially played puppet theatre and held talks with children all over the country. Ondřej Sekora's contribution to Czech children's literature is invaluable.