I saw the interview by mid-July before taking my summer break but some pressing matter prevented me from reading it. He announced his retirement from cinema inwinning the following year the prestigious Premio Herralde with his novel La vida antes de marzo.
Gus is a part of the Green Family. Despite his differences, they love him anyway. Whimsical, goggle-eyed characters and bright, bold colours that Ann-Marie Finn has illustrated perfectly suit the playful text by Kaylene Hobson.
A sweet, charming and significant book for families, teachers and specialists, and all primary school children to connect with, whether on the spectrum or not.
You have a gorgeous, eye-catching style of illustrating. Please tell us a bit about your artistic background. I started out designing greetings cards and stationery, and there was never really time to work on anything new. Then I left work to have my two children and I knew then that I had to just go for it!
I took a story that I had written years earlier as a student, adapted it to be about my first little boy Liam, and A Trip to the Moon was created.
Can you tell us a bit about how you and Kaylene collaborated and what you hope the readers will gain from this book? The reason Kaylene and I met was through a group that Kaylene set up to help kids on the spectrum to interact with each other.
Once she found out I was an illustrator and I found out that she was an author we started talking about a collaboration.
When I first had the idea to make Gus the Asparagus a character I sent her a message. I knew she would either laugh and think I was crazy or decide it was a good idea and we should run with it! The idea behind the book was to create a character that kids with autism could connect with and understand, a book for them to understand themselves rather than for adults.
We also hoped it would be fun for any kids, not just those on the spectrum. How does the story resonate with you personally?
I loved every moment of working on Gus. The best part was that we were never short of ideas! In fact we had too many and had to cut out some pages good excuse for a sequel though….
Gus himself is very much like my eldest Liam, and he actually helped me out when I was illustrating the book and gave me ideas on what would make Gus more comfortable in class. I love it when my kids get involved in my work. Do you have a particular style or type of medium that you tend to prefer over others?
When I see a manuscript or think up a character I can usually see it in my head before I start to work on it. I knew Gus needed to be a very simple but bright character, without fussy backgrounds.
The characters were created from painted colours on textured paper. The pencil sketch style that I developed for A Trip to the Moon is my favourite though, I like that I get to draw it all by hand but have the ability to manipulate the images easily in Photoshop and keep the hand drawn look.
What were the most rewarding and challenging aspects of creating the illustrations for this book? The most rewarding part was when I got the look of Gus just right.
Do you like asparagus? Do you have a preference for a particular role in creating books for kids? Well I have never considered myself an author, just an illustrator. The feedback is most definitely the best part of every book.
You have two new projects due out soon. Can you tell us a bit about the works you are creating with Georgie Donaghey and Michelle Worthington?
I have just finished Lulu by Georgie Donaghey and received the first copy a few days ago. It was a very challenging one for me because I decided to paint the illustrations this time.
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