Last week I kicked off what I hope is going to be the first of many in the FridayReadAlouds series with an interview with Rebecca Elliott, author/illustrator. Rebecca has two more books due out this year, Zoo Girl and Sometimes (a sequel to Just Because, reviewed last week).
And so, on to the rest of the interview.
Jax: What’s your favourite medium for working with?
Acrylics – if (when) I go wrong i can paint over the mistake in a matter of minutes. Marvelous.
I also have a half digital style (my new book Zoo Girl uses this) which starts of as a bic biro drawing and then gets rendered and endlessly played with in Photoshop.
Jax: Does working at art take any of the joy out of doing it – does it become just another job?
I always feel a little uncomfortable about complaining about my job – I am wildly aware I am extremely fortunate to be making my living doing what I love. However… yes I do have to take on jobs with insanely stressful deadlines, soulless artwork and endless requested alterations from the editors which are not fun and at these times it does feel very much like a joyless job. But on the other hand when working on my own texts it’s just wonderful and I wouldn’t swap what I do for anything else. I get to doodle pictures of hamsters in my pyjamas. â€˜Nuff said.
Jax: Do your children enjoy being a part of your work?
Just Because, and it’s sequel Sometimes, out in June, are indeed about my two children – Clemmie (6) who has sever special needs and Toby (2). Clemmie’s unaware that she’s in a book but just smiles most of the time so I’m pretty sure she’s cool with it. Toby sees himself on the books, posters, in shops and just points and shouts â€˜ME me!’ – he thinks it’s utterly normal to have books written about him and his sister, mundane even. Time will tell how he feels about it when he grows up!
Jax: What do you think the impact of e-readers is likely to be on picture books – will it adversely affect sales?
I don’t think it will adversely effect â€˜real’ book sales – in my experience picture books simply put onto screens as they are hold little interest for children – even at two my son is so used to playing with various children’s apps on my iphone he expects anything digital to be interactive, to have more functionality and hands-on features than simply pictures and text and so he gets very bored with simple epicturebooks. However, he also LOVES â€˜real’ books and is read at least 5 books every day and never tires of this – I think when you have an actual book in your hands and your parent is reading it to you, you have everything you could need for a perfect interactive experience, and I don’t think anything could replace this. However, I do think that, designed thoughtfully, apps and ebooks can work alongside their real-life counterparts, enhancing rather than replacing the book-reading experience by adding features, interactive elements etc. There are a few epicturebooks around like this but the area is undoubtedly still extremely young and can only get more and more exciting as the digital revolution continues.
Jax: What’s the most unusual consequence of having books published you can think of?
I can only hope that as well as being unusual, it was an enjoyable consequence! Thanks go to Rebecca for taking the time to answer my questions – I hope you’ve enjoyed this. I’d love to hear what you’re reading aloud to your children this week too 🙂