Ana Juan, illustrator of the unique children’s book Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente, is joining us on Cover Corner today to tell us a little bit about her work.
You’re work has quite a dark, almost creepy atmosphere to it, which I love. Do you try to tone that down when working on children’s book projects, or do you find kids love that?
I am not toning down my art work, in fact , I have the feeling than I am toning up little by little my work for children books…
How did you get into illustration?
I am an illustrator and I am sure than Ive been an illustrator since I was a kid and I discovered the magic world of books. An illustrator has to work as a wizard, catching the readers to bring them into a world where they can sleep awake. During my professional life, I’ve learned how to walk on the edge of the line between the reality and the dreams. This line is so thin that often both worlds can get confused .
Is narrative illustration something you especially enjoy?
I love stories and I love to tell them with images.
What challenges did you face when illustrating the book?
First at all, to catch the atmosphere, them and most important point, is not to explain once again the text, instead to recreated it and give another view over.
Did you have any contact with the author?
Usually, author and illustrator they have no contact during the process of illustrating a book. I got some comments from the author but always via the editorial.
Were you given free reign on the illustrations or did you have a specific guideline to work to? (Did you get to read the book before hand?)
Of course, I am reading the manuscript and some times more than once. From when you receiving the text and to the final result the work process is very long and for someone so impatient like me, it’s not easy. From the first reading of the manuscript, to holding the published book in my hands, usually it can take more than two years.
Can you tell us a bit about your creative process? What inspires you? How do you get your ideas down?
I studied Fine Arts before and I have been very interested about the history of art. Old masters of the Renaissance and Flemish painters, like Veermer Chagall and a lot of other artists. The cinema, books and photography too …THE LIFE in fact.
Did you have a favourite character to draw?
Everyone of them has a special character and I am always delighted to see them growing up.
Were there any artists/stories that you drew inspiration from while working on Girl Who Circumnavigated?
I can’t remember any specific influence on source of inspiration. I just tried to get the atmosphere of old illustrated books.
What do you think illustrations (in general) bring to a book?
Soul and magic
If you want to see more of Ana’s work, check out her website, where you can see more videos for several of the books she has worked on.
A big thank you to Ana for agreeing to a short Q&A about her work.