The twenty-third subject of Meet An Illustrator is Yuval Zommer, best known for his award-winning Big Book Of… series published by Thames & Hudson and sold in countries world-wide. The latest title, The Big Book of Belonging, publishes in September this year .
He only began publishing illustrated books for children in 2014, after a career as a creative director, but has already built up an impressive list of titles.
In addition to The Big Book of Belonging mentioned above, we can also look forward to publication of The Lights That Dance In The Night, coming from OUP in October.
Yuval will be participating in The Children’s Bookshow, Warwick Arts Centre, this November.
As a child, what were the first illustrations you remember admiring?
I used to sketch all of my dogs—every dog we ever had became a model for my life drawings. I had no idea that decades on I would still be drawing animals!
Who/what inspired you when you were young?
My grandparents had books from the ‘World of Art’ series, about the great masters, popular at the time. As a child, I thought of these titles as picture books with every painting telling a story. I particularly remember trying to imagine what Gauguin, Rousseau and Monet were trying to tell.
Who inspires you today?
I discovered Brian Wildsmith relatively late—I love his flair and use of colour! Particularly his work from the 60’S and 70’s. I feel privileged and honoured to be published by Oxford University Press who, decades apart, published his pioneering work. I also find children’s art very inspiring and fresh! My readers are very creative and often send work inspired by my Big Books.
Did you study art/illustration?
MA illustration at the Royal College of Art, some time ago.
What is your favourite artist tool/product?
It changes, but I am enjoying the immediacy of liquid chalk markers which I use to draw on bookshops’ windows. Except more of, in the run up to Xmas.
Where do you buy your art supplies?
Usually Cass Art but whenever I get to travel abroad I always try to source local bookshops and art shops!
What software/apps do you use?
I use Photoshop mainly, and an extra large Wacom tablet to draw on with a stylus pen.
What was your first commission?
My first published picture book was The Big Blue Thing On The Hill and it set the tone for future things! I am forever grateful to Amanda Wood the then editor for seeing the potential in what was still a concept with just a few drawings.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a large format book to do with Nature Art which I am very excited about. I very much support the idea that ‘Every Child Is An Artist’ and that’s all I can say for now.
Twitter or Instagram? Both—for different reasons, and for different communities.
Coffee or tea? Too much coffee.
Dog or cat? Dogs, dogs, dogs!
Grape or grain? Grain—Scottish and undiluted, maybe a few ice cubes.
Sunrise or sunset? Sunrises give me energy for the day when working on projects. Sunsets on holidays.
What do you listen to when you are working? I like ‘abstract’ noises such as the Italian staff from the restaurant opposite having their kitchen breaks, the hum of the buses from near by, the birds who have made the derelict building near me their home. I live in a very urban setting!
This is a regular weekend feature, publishing every Saturday.