I am particularly fond of this little (6 by 7.5 inches) book of mine. Among my books, it’s the one with the briefest text and at the same time the one that took me the longest to write. There was a lot of thinking and editing to get to the final forty-eight words.
I’m often asked if my books are born text first or pictures first. This is the perfect example of a book that couldn’t be born either way: It was really a matter of working on words and pictures at the same time. You remove a word, you add a picture; you add a word, you remove a picture. I could never have come up with these images based on the words that I eventually decided to use. I wouldn’t know how to illustrate “One island / Two trees / Three tears,” and I couldn’t have written those words independently from the illustrations.
As with most of my books, I created the illustrations using pen & ink and watercolor, my favorite technique. This time, my originals were smaller than the printed page. Once printed, the line looks a bit thicker but also kind of broken and softer, which is nice.
Sergio Ruzzier is a picture book author and illustrator. Born in Milan, Italy, in 1966, he moved to the U.S.A. in 1995, where he's been creating stories and pictures for books and magazines. He was a recipient of the 2011 Sendak Fellowship. Sergio lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit http://www.ruzzier.com to learn more.