Christopher Cyr's WHO WILL BELL THE CAT?

Today, Christopher Cyr stops by to tell us about the creation of his new picture book WHO WILL BELL THE CAT?, written by the late Patricia C. McKissack for Holiday House. Enjoy!
e: What is your creative process/medium, can you walk us through it?
Scribbles, sketches and doodles are how I get my very first ideas out. Pencil on paper, I try to just express any spark of imagination or flash of fun that comes to mind.

I take those thumbnail sketches, refine them, and bring them to the digital world of Adobe Photoshop. That’s when I begin the magic. Working under my sketch I’ll build up tones using brushes sampled from my own watercolour paintings.
After the image has a full value study underneath I begin adding colors on top, injecting hue and vibrancy to the image until it has the exact balance I’m looking for.
When I’m completely happy I then go through the image painting textures and fine details and giving everything its moment in the spotlight. That’s the secret!

e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
An illustration with undeniable charisma, the kind that draws you in again and again comes not from conveying a single idea. Or a single story. It comes from an image filled with ideas and stories, big and small. Every detail is a clue for your imagination to take and run wild.
e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of this story?
This story was written by the wonderful, late, Patricia McKissack. Her words were a pleasure for me to bring to life. I was reminded of home where I grew up in rural Massachusetts when I imagined the old barn the mice lived in and I thought of all the cats that have sauntered through my life. I actually had a bell just like the one in the book hanging on a latch in my room when I was younger. The cat liked to play with the latch but did not like the noise of the bell. My thinking wasn’t too different from these mice it seems.
e: How do you advertise yourself?
I stay fairly active across social media. Tumblr (chriscyr), Instagram (@christophercyr), Twitter (@plaidcats), you name it! I always have my rep studio at my side as well promoting my work for me— the lovely ladies over at Studio Goodwin Sturges.
e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?
For me, my favorite part is the reward of all the little challenging moments of puzzle-piecing throughout the creative process. I love having all these new ideas pop into my mind and seeing them all integrate together to create one space you really want to dive into. That fun of looking at my own piece of art and just admiring a world I’d love to visit is what I alway look foreword to most.
e: Is there something in particular about this story you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
I’d hope readers take away a sense of curiosity for whatever may be just behind the corner or scurrying behind a wall. I know I enjoyed imagining the big world of mice and I think the readers of this book might be inspired to imagine spending a day as a mouse too.
e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
I’m working on a little of everything right now— other books, one-off illustrations, a game project that’s taken my fancy. I always want to be doing more and I don’t think I’ll ever slow down! My dream project would most definitely be something involving dragons, they’ve always been my favorite. Or maybe something involving food? Food and dragons, a perfect combo.
      My website is Thank you for this opportunity.

e: Thank you, Christopher!

No comments: