A couple of weeks ago my parcel with my copies of the two Kollie books, I illustrated last year for the Belgian publisher Clavis arrived. These books have a little Koala bear has the main character and tell in rhyming form about what he discovers and learns in day care.
But before telling you about the illustration process I would like to share the story of how I got this commission. In 2010, just a little before I ventured into my illustration dream full time, I attended the Frankfurt Book Fair. It was overwhelming and to be honest I did not show my portfolio much, as I was too nervous and feared I was not good enough. From time to time, when spotting a publisher who's books I loved I took all my courage and asked, if someone was around to look at portfolios. This is what I did at the Clavis stand too. Unfortunately they only had sales people there, like most foreign publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair to tell you the truth, but the very kind lady gave me a card and a name where to send my stuff too. And so I did. Shortly after I received an email, that they got my samples and all was past on to the person in charge and they would be in touch. This was it for a very long time. A year really!
One year later I received an email from Clavis. It said, they loved my art and offered me to illustrate the first two books of a new series they were doing. I was thrilled! I had not at all expected to hear from them ever again because so much time had past. I was so wrong!
They send me a translation of the original manuscript as I do not speak Dutch and I got too illustrate my first two books with animal characters all over the place and also for very young readers. It couldn't have been better!
I started sketching away and as the timeframe was quite short, worked seven days a week to meet the deadline. But it was all worth it! The books turned out so lovely and the quality of the print is really stunning!
Next time I will tell you a little more on how I went about making the art for the Kollie books. For now I hope you enjoy these first peeks!