March is right around the corner and we're so excited to bring you another FREE kidlit calendar page, illustrated by the lovely Tarsila Krüse. And this month, as a special treat we even have a fantastic interview with Tarsila!
PuddleJump: Hi Tarsila! It's always really fascinating to hear about an artist's working environment since that's often where the magic happens! Can you tell us a little bit about your studio?
Tarsila: My studio at the moment is a small creative nook corner in my living room. My tools are all at easy reach and I feel cozy and happy here. Also I get to hang out with my dogs in the living room, I create while they nap. It all works out.
PuddleJump: What do you think are your five most important art tools?
Tarsila: My most important working tools are: Brain (to make connections and be inspired by the things I hear, see, taste, smell, touch and feel), my right hand (it's what I use for drawing and do lots of stretches!), the computer/Cintiq/iPad(These are the digital tools I use normally on a day to day basis), plus a sketchbook (any size, any brand, sturdy pages for experimenting though!) and the Pentel mechanical pencil P209.
PuddleJump: You must have been really cool as a child. ;) What were you like at age seven?
Tarsila: When I was seven I loved doing lots of outdoor things, climbing trees, riding a bike and sneaking into the swimming pool (I wasn't allowed!). I also loved making my own books with copy paper and markers (I didn't like pencils much then) and I'd always be wearing shorts and a t-shirt (with some bright thing on it). MY favourite dish then was pasta with chicken (which I still love) but my taste has expanded a lot since then.
PuddleJump: What is your favorite quote?
Tarsila: It's a quote by a good friend. "Results are the outcome of a planned effort".
PuddleJump: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Tarsila: I see myself progressing from where I am, I intend to have more books published and hopefully touring around the world to share with children how amazing and transforming books and art is!
PuddleJump: What kidlit projects are you working on right now?
Tarsila: I'm currently working on a creative nonfiction picture book for the tourism market (to be published in May!) and a few other personal projects!
PuddleJump: What is the best illustration advice anyone has ever given you?
Tarsila: Make the work you want to make more of, that's the basis for people to hire you. Don't show work you didn't’ enjoy making as you'll get more of these.
PuddleJump: What inspired you to become an illustrator?
Tarsila: Children and their world and amazement with the world. We reflect upon our reality through stories and this is exactly what children's books are. Magical doors for children to have fun, discover the world and understand who they are.
PuddleJump: Can you talk a little bit about your process?
Tarsila: My illustration process begins with the idea, either from my own head or a brief, and then I try to connect and map out in my head all the ideas I can have about a certain thing. Then I do some more research and add things to the pot - colours, composition, textures, characters, etc. Once I have these fairly cooked in my brain (I told you it was vital!) I sketch out a few of those ideas to work out which one works best, then I tweak and change small things (and I do this all along from now on). After that I define a main sketch and that's the one I use as the basis for the artwork. I then bring that sketch into the computer and make a clean traced version of it which will be used as a skeleton for the final work. After that I colour block the main pieces of the work (working from back to front, so things are layered in the proper place) and then I add shadows, highlights and details on top. Lastly but nevertheless very important, I always sign my work.
PuddleJump: What subjects get you excited? What are your favorite things to illustrate?
Tarsila: People, nature and dogs. I also like capturing everyday moments, like having an ice-cream or riding a dinosaur… (as one does!)
PuddleJump: What was the last picture book you read?
Tarsila: The last picture book I read (for myself) was Dress Like a Girl by Patricia Toht and illustrated by fellow Puddlejumper and allround talented friend Lorian Tu-Dean. It's sweet and gorgeous! The last picture book I read (this morning) for my son was the classic Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins.
PuddleJump: What do you listen to while you are working?
Tarsila: I listen to an incredible variety of podcasts. I used to listen to music but I find that podcasts bring me more knowledge and are less distracting. I listen to anything from business advice to short stories and accounts of living by self-help books. I spent years of my life listening to lectures/lessons while drawing, so much so that when I look at a certain part of an image I made, I can actually remember exactly what I was listening to. Some recommendations include "Creative Pep Talk", "Myths and Legends", "The Moth Radiohour"” "Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids" "Design Matters" "Happier with Gretchen Rubin" and "By The Book".
PuddleJump: Thanks for the great interview Tarsila! This was all so inspiring! You can find Tarsila's PuddleJump bio here, or visit her website at art, visit www.tarsilakruse.com. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @tarsilakruse.