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fantastic and is quite seductive at purchase, but if it doesn’t have
emotional honesty, you will not get that “again, again” factor
going. For me, that’s what it is all about–the 18-month-old or
two-to three-year-old, having an immersive narrative experience.
KL: And an enduring connection to that book. We are a
culture of neologists now, but children haven’t changed
much; they still appreciate what’s timeless in language and
art. David Lloyd retires this year; what is his legacy?
DMD: His utter honesty and his incision. He is truthful
in reacting to what’s in front of him. And he is very funny.
KL: What do you love?
DMD: Colour. It’s visceral, really. The juxtaposition of orange
against red; great drawing; and white space–I love white space.
KL: What is not there, but is evoked.
DMD: Yes. Unlike in animation or an app, in a picture
book, you’ve only got 12 or at most 16 images that have to
carry the whole story–there’s no music or voice, no tricks.
The very best are just pure and honest on the page. ■
newer. Now you will see all the Western classics in the bookshops.
And there are so many fabulous artists to publish. I adore working
with Jimmy Liao and Chinlun Lee; language is no barrier.
KL: Have computers changed illustration?
DMD: The graphic look of art on screen has influenced
art style. Chris Haughton, Jon Klassen, many others, all
began in animation. And in animation, they’re used to
working on a large team to create the end product.
KL: So in some ways, design has moved from team to
solo, and artwork from solo to team–more collaborative
book-making. That changes your role as Art Director?
DMD: Yes. Back in the early days, you would rarely see
anything after sketches; the artist would go away and work
alone, then, bang!–full artwork would be in.
KL: What’s the challenge now?
DMD: I think it’s really about too much choice. Artists can
make a piece of art so quickly; it’s very easy to constantly change
their minds. It’s all about helping them rule things out now–
looking at what to discard. What matters, ultimately, in a picture
book is the emotional truth. You can have artwork that looks
Karen Lotz is Managing Director of Walker Books and Publisher of Candlewick
Press. Deirdre McDermott is Publisher of Picture Books at Walker Books.