Bagram Ibatoulline Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Bagram Ibatoulline

Bagram Ibatoulline

An interview with Bagram Ibatoulline

An Interview with the illustrator of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Bagram Ibatoulline

You change your style dramatically with each children's book you illustrate, like an actor who never plays the same role twice. You've paid homage, always brilliantly, to Dutch masters, American realists, primitive folk art, Chinese scrolls, and more. Which style do you most enjoy using? What kind of research do you do for each book?
I enjoy any style—it is never my intention to copy a particular look or aesthetic. Instead I do a lot of groundwork and extensive research on the time period in order to come up with my own approach or style for a book that I can relate to and use naturally. I have a big reference library, and when that's not enough, I turn to public libraries and private sources, which was the case for Edward.

Do you use models or photographs for the people in your painting? How about the rabbit—did you see Kate DiCamillo's big rabbit or invent your own?
Usually I create sketches and work off of them to create the final image. Sometimes I take inspiration from people and faces in old photographs or pictures of a specific time period in order to come up with an idea of what a certain character might look like. Although Kate sent me photos of her rabbit, I still had to sculpt my own model of Edward's head, since we see the rabbit from many angles throughout the book.

Did you consider yourself an artist as a child? What kind of art training did you have?
Since the time I can remember myself, I was sculpting. When I was ten, with advice from my parents, I went to the Children's Art School. I studied there for five years. It was a basic art education—introduction to the world of art materials, history of art, basics of various crafts. Then I decided to continue my art education in the Art College of Kazan for four years. It was a time of the most intensive classic art training. After that I attended the State Art Institute in Moscow for five years. It was an important step for me, allowing me to understand and find myself as an artist.

Each painting adds a rich and emotionally affecting dimension to Kate's text. How did you find the heart of each of the characters? What did you want your illustrations to add to the story?
It's not easy to explain how I found the heart of each character. Everything is in the text, as in "But first you must open your heart." I couldn't say it better.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  166The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.