Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

October 27, 2010

Tiny Little Fly

'Tiny Little Fly' is a really gorgeous new children's picture book from former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen ('We're Going on a Bear Hunt') and with beautiful illustrations by Kevin Waldron.

This is a really lovely, funny, read-aloud story aimed at younger readers aged 2+. My three-year-old loved it immediately. The text has a lovely rhythm and pattern, which your child can quickly learn to repeat along with you, and the wonderful double-page spread illustrations allow the child to guess the animal before the full picture is revealed. Kevin Waldron's big, bold illustrations capture the antics of the animals brilliantly. The book is 36 pages in hardback and is priced at £11.99.

I recently interviewed Kevin about his work on 'Tiny Little Fly' and his involvement in designing the images for the Children's Book Festival in association with Children's Books Ireland.

How did you develop the poster for the Children's Book Festival?
Children's Books Ireland were great to work with. I often approach the pages of a children's book as if it were a poster- focusing on a strong graphic shape with a complementary font, but if you do this on every page you will overlook the timing and rhythm of the story which is crucial. The finished poster took about one week in total to complete. It is inspired by Paul Galdone and Eve Titus' Anatole and the poster art of Raymond Savignac.

How long did it take you to illustrate Tiny Little Fly?
Tiny Little Fly took forever! We already had a marvellous rhyme from Michael Rosen and I only had to draw one animal per spread (actually not even that, as they are cropped in half!), but simple is so very, very difficult. Artists like Paul Rand and Eric Carle can do it with ease it seems. I suppose that it took a year or more to complete this book, but in my defence I emigrated to America in the middle!

How did you get involved in illustration?
I knew in art college in Dublin that my career would involve combining text and image but I wasn't interested in children's books at that stage. I tried all sorts of approaches while attending Kingston University in London, with limited success. A project we set ourselves somehow morphed into a children's book and I've been making books ever since. I finished the book: Mr Peek and the Misunderstanding at the Zoo for the end of year show and Templar published it the following year. I was looking at other children's books in the library at this stage and discovered how opinionated i really was about them!

How has technology influenced your work?
I would probably label myself a hybrid- I draw everything by hand and scan it in to manipulate the colours; effectively using technology to make something look old and worn. The idea that a book has been around for decades and appreciated by different owners appeals greatly to me- you could say that I'm trying to cheat it! The computer is a marvellous tool for creating smooth shapes with flat colours, excellent for communicating with a very young audience. I wonder if Dick Bruna ever wished he had a computer?

Kevin's book: 'Mr Peek and the Misunderstanding at the Zoo' was recently featured as the CBeebies Bedtime Story.

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1 comment:

  1. Great to discover this mini interview! I've a post coming out (hopefully tomorrow) to which Kevin has contributed, all about the best picture books in recent years.

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