Laura Purdie Salas and Claudine Gévry talk about SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE

I love it when I can get both the author and the illustrator of a book together at the same time. Today, Laura Purdie Salas and Claudine Gévry interview each other about their new book of children's poetry, Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle: How Animals Get Ready for Winter.
Laurie: Could you share a bit of your process for Snack? What medium/media did you use?
I create the illustrations by hand using soft pastels. I love the lushness of the colors and the freedom the medium gives me. I also used small quantities of gold or copper leaf. You can’t see their shininess in the printed book but it I think they add an interesting effect.
Laurie: What is your single favorite image you created? My single favorite bit of your art is the hummingbird. The color palette and that gorgeous blur of wings just makes me pause to admire every time I page through the book.
Claudine: I love the image of the earthworm emerging from the dead leaves. Some of the leaves are painted with green oxidized copper leaf. This makes them look as if they were affected by time and the changing seasons!

Laurie: What was the hardest thing about this project?
Claudine: I would say that making the animals realistic enough while also creating interesting artistic stylizations was my biggest challenge. It’s a fine balancing act.

Laurie: For me it was choosing which animals to use—the mix of familiar and different; covering the three survival strategies (hibernate, migrate, tolerate) equally, but showing a variety within each method, etc. It was like a logic puzzle!
Laurie: Did you try anything new in this project?
Claudine: With each new project I do I try to loosen up my style with the aim of keeping it fresh. With each new project I feel that I am able to evolve and make progress.

Laurie: This was the first time I had backmatter that not only gave further details about each animal in the book but also gave an overview explanation of a large topic like winter survival. There was a lot of information to work into three pages.
Laurie: Which spread is your favorite?
Claudine: It is hard to choose! I find I have many favorites as I turn the pages. This being said the one I painted first, the bear, might be my favorite. I enjoyed painting the colorful Fall forest and that bear looks so cozy and peaceful in his winter habitat.

Laurie: For me, I think it’s the moose. I just love the abundant, colorful mood on the left side, when it’s fall, and then the wind blowing and the steam coming out of its nostrils on the right side. It totally captures the different atmosphere of the two seasons.
Claudine: If you could go back and change one thing, now that you see the finished book, what would you change?
Laurie: I have two text changes I’d make. Here’s one: On the chipmunk spread, it says,
     Hide away seeds as your winter stash grows. [fall]
     Nap all curled up with your tail to your nose. [winter]
I think I would change that to:
     Hide away seeds as your winter stash grows.
     Doze curled up with your tail to your nose.

Laurie: Which detail made you think, “Ah, that came out exactly like I wanted it to”?
Claudine: The blurring on the hummingbird wings! I painted the wings standing still but they looked wrong; you never see the hummingbird wings in real life. After digitalizing the image I blurred it on a computer.

Laurie: For me, it’s my bear text:
     Gobble up acorns and beechnuts by streams. [fall]
     Snooze through the winter in hazelnut dreams. [winter]

Laurie: Anything else funny or strange or surprising you’d like to share about the process of this book?
Claudine: My son, 7 years old at the time, would often come to see me in my studio while I was working on this book. He gave me very accurate & helpful comments on my drawings. Listening to so many animal documentaries made him quite an expert!
Laurie and Claudine

1 comment:

Margaret Simon said...

Wonderful interview. I can't wait to hold this book in my hands. The collaboration is a beautiful thing.