How did it feel to win a spot on The Gittle List Top 10? While I have won awards for my work as a medical illustrator, Amos Likes to Jump was my first published picture book. It was immensely gratifying to be recognized for the hard work that collectively went into this book. As a first-time author and illustrator team, we are thrilled to have placed on the Gittle List. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our second book in the Amos series.
What children’s book contains your favorite illustrations? I love the whimsy of Shel Silverstein’s work. The starkness of his illustrations in The Giving Tree lend themselves so beautifully to the emotions in the text.
What is your favorite children’s book? My favorite children’s book of all time is The Lorax. I love the illustrations of the candy-like other world filled with truffala trees and the way Dr. Suess plays with light and darkness to evoke the changing mood in the book. I read it so often to my cousin’s child a few summers ago that I almost know every word by heart, and yet I never tired of it. To me, that is the mark of a lasting book.
Which artists or writers most influenced or inspired your work? Currently, one of my favorite children’s book illustrators is Will Terry. The use of light and color in his work really inspires me. He uses light very purposefully in order to set the mood of his illustrations, and his attention to detail is truly respectable.
What is your favorite color or color combination? I like using varying shades of blue and turquoise in my work. It’s a very calming color and I use it in most all of my work, children’s book and otherwise.
Why did you decide to self-publish? Because the Amos books are about a real dog, [the author] Margaret Lowder really wanted to ensure that our books are true to the spirit of Amos himself. I did not anticipate the sometimes condescending attitude towards self-published books, but have been glad to see some recognition that authors are now choosing this route willingly over traditional methods.
Do you prefer to work digitally, by hand, or both? I prefer to combine traditional and digital methods in my work. I create my sketches in 2B pencil and apply color digitally. There is something about hand-wrought work that I think will always be appealing to readers.
Tell us about your latest project. I am currently working on final illustrations for the second book in the series of Amos Tales, entitled Amos Bounces Back: A Tale of Too Much TV. This book is due for release in the Summer of 2016. In order to reach an older audience, this book will be a large picture book (not a board book like Amos Likes to Jump).
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? I had a professor in graduate school for Medical Illustration who passed away as I was working on this children’s book. Professor Mascaro taught that you should draw, draw, draw, and draw some more. He [also] told me that besides drawing, the best thing I could do was to really understand color.
What do you do to market your books? Aside from setting up readings and signings in shops, libraries, and schools, we have an active social media presence on facebook and instagram. We have a blog on amosthedog.com where we share dog treat recipes on #TreatYourselfTuesdays, and we promote the book through blogs and magazines.
Ellen is a science lover turned artist who found her niche as a medical illustrator. With a BFA in Scientific Illustration and a master’s degree in Medical Illustration, Ellen is well versed in color and design. Whether painting Amos or anatomy, she brings dynamic color and energy to her work. Ellen’s specialties include children’s book illustration, medical illustration and animation, veterinary illustration, and pet portraiture. When not creating art, she can be found cooking and spending time with her chocolate lab, Nala.
My husband, David, and I have been together for over 17 years. For most of that time, I thought I was the superior cook. Your typical creative, I experiment with abandon; changing ingredients at will. Sometimes I remember to capture in writing (kinda) what I did. But, I could never tell anyone else exactly how I made that yummy dish they wanted to make for their family.
David is a retired software engineer. To watch him make a sandwich is a testament to patience. Everything must be even. Slices of tomatoes must be the same thickness. Peanut butter must be spread evenly. He figures out the best order of the fillings to ensure a “no-slide” sandwich. (Something to do with avocado…)
A few years ago, he started experimenting with recipes. One recipe at a time. The first time, he would follow the recipe exactly (crazy!) Then, he would note what worked and what didn’t. He would change one aspect of the recipe at a time (one needs to control variables). He spent, literally, months learning to make biscuits. The result? Move over Pillsbury Dough Boy.
David recently got on a kick for El Pollo Loco beans and rice. It was getting expensive and he wanted to re-create them at home. Of course, he has created a version that is better (and cheaper) than the original. He even managed to make them healthier. Here’s the result of his careful experimentation. David’s (Better-Than) El Pollo Loco Beans & Rice Recipe.
How did it feel to win a spot on The Gittle List Top 10? Had you ever gotten an award for any of your other work? I feel delighted to hear that The Wanting Monster has won a spot on The Gittle List. It is a great opportunity to get children, families, and colleagues to learn about this great book written by Mariana Llanos. In my home country, Argentina, I have gotten some awards for my artwork. However, in the USA it is the first time, so I am overjoyed to get this award.
What’s you earliest memory of drawing? I recall myself drawing for the first time when I was about three years old. I remember I used to draw on a table in the kitchen of my parents´ house. The drawings were very basic, like circles, lines, and small people, like stick figures; and I also remember I pretended they were talking to each other. Something one of small daughters do now while playing with dolls and ponies.
What children’s book contains your favorite illustrations? It is a difficult question to answer, but I can choose some to share with you. Aesop´s Fables were my favourite when I was a kid, but I also like books like The Gruffalo, and Cuentos de la Selva (Jungle Stories) by Horacio Quiroga. In general, children´s books which contain animals illustrations are my favourite ones.
Which artists most influenced or inspired your work? The artists that most influenced and inspired my work are related to my home country. Poly Bernatene, Carlos Nine, Manuel García Ferrer, Quino, are the first names of a long list of great artists that inspired my work, and continue doing it.
What is your favorite color? Blue is my favourite colour. I always related blue to the colour of the sky and the sea, and both provide a great inspiration to me.
Do you prefer to work digitally, by hand, or both? I usually start working by hand, after that I colour the illustrations with pencils, markers or watercolours, and finally I add different effects using digital software. I work this way, because I feel that a direct contact with the pencil and a sheet of paper is an authentic channel of expression, and creativity. At least, it works for me, and I can get the most of an idea.
Tell us about your latest project. I am working right now in the latest book by Mariana Llanos. It tells the story of a small girl, and her strong wish for a birthday present. It is very cheerful, and full of feelings. (Since the time Julián completed this interview, No Birthday for Mara is now available in English and Spanish.)
Tell us 3 strange and wonderful things about you. I think one of these 3 things is my good sense of humour, I am very positive, even in very difficult situations, I always look on the bright side of things. This thing about me has helped me overcome tough situations. Another thing about me is my will to help people who undergo serious problems, or diseases. I try to share my artwork to sponsor their job or events. I collaborate with a non profit organization who provides support for families who have a kid with cancer.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I think the best piece of advice I have ever been given is something my eldest daughter told me not long time ago, she said, “There are no age limits for new opportunities,” which is something very wise and true, and surprising that a nine year old could come up with such a great piece of advice. She told me that when I was doubting to start working as a freelancer.
Julián Galván is a creative Argentine illustrator and cartoonist born in the city of La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Besides being a passionate artist, he is also a fully accredited journalist. He has worked not only for Argentine graphic media, but also for Spain and the United States.
Julián has three daughters who motivate him to draw children´s books, and create funny and expressive characters.
Contact Julián :
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