Susan: Rosalinde, I am so in love with your illustrations and your expansion of Poppy’s world. I have some questions about that rich community you have created.
Rosalinde: Thanks Susan! I feel so lucky to be paired with you. It’s such a joy to illustrate Poppy’s wonderful world!
Susan: What gave you the idea to make GeeGee such an unconventional Grandmother?
Rosalinde: As soon as I read your text, I saw GeeGee as a hard rocker (a kind of pirate for Poppy). It was obvious for me to depict GeeGee as a unique person inside and out. I mean, Poppy has such a big personality that, in my opinion, she could not have this strong tie with GeeGee if she was a conventional Grandmother.
Rosalinde: I had a vague map of the town in mind… However, I spent hours drawing a detailed map of each floor of the house before starting the sketches of Poppy’s Best Babies. The characters appear in a lot of different rooms and it had to be consistent with the previous book. I succeeded in arranging everything inside but the house seems more spacious now from the inside than from the outside… This is probably a magic house like Mary Poppin’s bag!
Susan: The characters who populate Poppy’s world have such personality. Lavender, Petunia, the smitten Pig; even the parents! How do their backstories come to you?
Rosalinde: For me, in a picture book, the art must not just turn words into pictures in a symmetrical interaction. The illustrations have to expand the words, even often by telling stories which are not in the text. It’s difficult to explain how I develop these backstories because this is something that comes to me naturally and almost instantly. But I will say that for Poppy’s Best Babies, there was already a lot implicitly in your text. The personalities of your characters were probably well designed in your mind. In result with only a line, an action even a silence or an absence we figure out your characters’ personalities. I highlighted and developed that visually. For example, Herb, Poppy’s little brother, seems to be a patient and reasoned little person, the opposite of his big sister. I added in the pictures that he practices kendo to strengthen this feeling of self-discipline and spirituality.
Susan: What is your creative process and medium? Can you walk us through it?
Rosalinde: When I receive a manuscript, I read it several times and I doodle everything that pops into my head.
Rosalinde: For stories written by others, it depends of the atmosphere, the setting and the characters. I try several techniques and papers, then I choose what works best.
For my books, most of time the stories come from drawings. So it often depends of my favorite medium of the moment. For years, I worked with acrylic. But now I prefer ink and watercolor. Recently, I also developed a passion for felt pens. So it’s very likely that one of my next books will be illustrated in that way.
Susan: What is your favorite part of being a creator? What is the most challenging?
Rosalinde: I love to create fantasy worlds which can be source of joy, dream and inspiration. Picture books can have a real magic power. As a child, I was utterly fascinated by classic fairytales illustrated by Gustave Doré, Arthur Rackam, Ivan Bilibin and Edmond Dulac as well as the books by Samivel, Beatrix Potter, Tomi Ungerer, Rosemary Wells, Arnold Lobel and John Strickland Goodall. These creators and my parents, who told me a lot of stories each day since birth, deeply inspired my love of books and made me want to become an author-illustrator at a very young age. I never separated from these books. This is my treasure!
Susan: What is next for you?
Rosalinde: I am working on several projects in various domains: editorial, fashion and animation… And I do hope there will be a third Poppy’s adventure!