Anna Horváth's HAVE I EVER TOLD YOU?

I'm a bit behind sharing this book with you, but it's one I think a lot of parents are going to want to read to their children, so I don't want you to miss HAVE I EVER TOLD YOU? illustrated by Anna Horváth, a.k.a. annabies. She dropped by to talk about it...
e: What is your creative process/medium, can you walk us through it?
One of my favorite techniques is just having an blank sheet of paper, taking my fine-liner or Chinese ink and a pen and starting somewhere with a small idea in my head... then it develops by itself, you know, I draw something here and there :)
That’s how this illustration started as well. And at the same time it was different because I had to create a concept around the words. I had to figure out how it will speak to every single kid on Earth. So when the "speaking hands" idea came up, I started searching photos of hands in certain situations based on the text. So then I created the plan for every page. The initial hands were drawn on paper with fine-liner then I scanned them. I also scanned many painted papers and canvas that I prepared beforehand, then I packed everything together in Photoshop.
e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of this story?
Yes, actually there is something... Shani and I have never met or even talked to each other... what is amazing is that we discussed everything in emails. And in this case it worked perfectly. I couldn’t have imagined before that it would be possible. One day I received an email of a friend’s friend (that was Shani) from Florida (I live in Switzerland), who asked me if I could illustrate his book. And the whole process just went so smoothly and clearly. Shani did a great job and he has an excellent sense of communication that is clear and simple. And even though we did not know each other personally, there was a special vibe during the whole creating process. I felt his enthusiasm about his kids and this philosophy through his emails. As a mother myself it was immediately my own project too.
      Other than that I have my two kids who are my critics... so when I paint or draw I show them and they will tell me their opinion just as it is, which they did this time. :)
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?
What makes an illustration magical? Good question... for me the colours and surfaces that give its mood, then lots of details, even totally surprising or funny details that you don’t recognize on first sight, you just feel it, so you have to come back from time to time. There are some illustrators who are masters of light and shadow that make an illustration truly magical... but obviously the more surprising details there are the more magical it is :D Heart Art for me is when you feel that the illustrator loved the project and the process, enjoyed it until the last touch. Where all the colours and surfaces were carefully chosen, every detail is in the right spot, and altogether it is well-thought-out to make it meaningful, lovable, heartwarming or touching and magical. Heart Art makes you feel. It can reflect the words of a text, and add something more to its content.
e: How do you advertise yourself?
I have a facebook page (; a website (, instagram (annabies); I write my blog when I have time, I’m on Etsy, Society6, Staachi art and Artfinder. I participate in groups on Facebook, and post as frequently as I can. I have exhibitions and my art is in boutiques. I don’t really have a business plan or marketing strategy yet, but that is this year’s goal to make my business more consciously.
e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?
The business is the most challenging part for sure. It just needs another mindset. I’m doing online classes all the time in art, marketing and business. But while making art or having new ideas seems to be easy, marketing and advertising is very complicated for me, even if I understand I just feel that it doesn’t work for me, it doesn’t come naturally :D
e: Is there something in particular about this story you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
The first thing that touched me about this book was when I first read Shani's text. He wrote a letter to his children with these thoughts. I don’t think that his kids understood it but I imagine that they live accordingly. It was a totally personal letter... and much more... every parent could’ve written a letter like this to their children and Shani did it for them! These thoughts need to be discussed everywhere on this planet, this is how every single person should grow up and give this to their kids too. The world would be a better place :)
e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
Hopefully we will start our next project this year with Shani :) Other than that I would love to illustrate more children’s books, even fairy tales or magical stories. I would like to see them on stage too with a stage set and costumes that I make or design. I would like to create a magical world where kids and adults can leave the real world behind, where they can be lost a bit and just exist in the moment, surrounded with magic. And not just by reading a book or watching a movie or a play, but feel it on their skin, smell it, hear it and see it all around themselves. Where adults can wake up their inner child, where they can feel freedom again in a whimsical and magical world :)

e: Thank you, Anna! Don't miss these mesmerizing videos of Anna painting!
Video 1
Video 2
Video 3

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