Anna: Authors - Jane [Bernstein] and Charlotte [Glynn] - found my portfolio on the internet and asked me to illustrate the book. I was really exited: it was my first experience with a client from US so it was a very interesting offer for me. Jane and Charlotte sent me the text, I made a sketch of the whole book layout as my proposal, and so we started to work. The working process was like that: I would draw a sketch and then send it to the authors. Sometimes they would totally agree, and sometimes not. Following their comments I would draw the final illustration, which we would discuss with Jane and Charlotte.
Anna: Well, picture book market in Russia is not as big as in Europe or in America, but we have some very good publishing houses and I'm happy to work with one of them - Samokat Publishing House. I have some successful book projects in Russia, so I receive enough offers to choose what I’d like to illustrate.
Anna: Yes, this book is based on a real story that the authors heard from their friends who had immigrated to the USA from the USSR in the 70s with their dog named Gina. Even with the episode when Gina was dressed like a baby in a train had actually happened!
Anna: For me it's a very deep dive into a story you are illustrating - to find information and details which readers may not even ever notice - but you know it for yourself, and these details make a picture really special. I always try to find a lot of materials, photos etc. for the illustration.. The more real life is there behind the picture, the more lively it actually is.
Anna: First of all my Publishing house does this for me - thanks to them my book is being published abroad, they send my illustrations to competitions (this way I was awarded the Golden apple at the Bratislava biennale the last year). Besides I send my illustrations to different competitions by myself. And of course I use my instagram https://www.instagram.com/anyadesnitskaya/ and behance https://www.behance.net/anya_d accounts to promote myself.
Anna: The most challenging part for me is the very beginning of a book project - when I should figure out how it will work. It feels like my brain is boiling! My favorite part is to color illustrations in Photoshop listening some podcasts or an audiobook during my work.
Anna: I think the authors and me, we see this story from different angles - I'm from Russia, where Gina's journey begins, and Jane and Charlotte are from New York, the final destination of her journey. I hope this difference made our book more deep and real (speaking of the "heart art"!) But neither me nor Jane and Charlotte are immigrants while Gina is building a kind of a bridge between us. So I hope our readers will look at the story with Gina’s eyes like we did.
Anna: At the moment I'm working on the book about the Transsiberian railway and the cities it connects. It's a challenging but rather interesting task, I hope it will be finished before the next summer.