An Interview with the illustrator of The Miraculous
Journey of Edward Tulane, Bagram
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
masters, American realists, primitive folk art, Chinese scrolls, and more. Which
you most enjoy using? What kind of research do you do for each book?
I enjoy any styleit 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
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
sources, which was the case for Edward.
Do you use models or photographs for the people in your painting? How about
rabbitdid 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
in order to come up with an idea of what a certain character might look like.
Kate sent me photos of her rabbit, I still had to sculpt my own model of
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
Since the time I can remember myself, I was sculpting. When I was ten, with
my parents, I went to the Children's Art School. I studied there for five years.
It was a
basic art educationintroduction to the world of art materials, history of art,
various crafts. Then I decided to continue my art education in the Art College
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 to understand and find myself as an artist.
Each painting adds a rich and emotionally affecting dimension to Kate's text.
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.