May 21, 2019

Let's Talk Illustrators #109: Ximo Abadía

Recently, I got a chance to chat with European illustrator Ximo Abadía about Goliath: The Bow Who Was Different. Ximo has a lot of books coming out right now, and there's a reason his stories are in  such high-demand. Each one is thought-provoking in addition to graphically stunning, and Goliath is no exception. 

About the book:
Goliath always knew he was special. He was big. He was brave. He was the strongest. He was different Convinced that his home had nothing more to offer, Goliath headed out into the world to show everyone what he was really made of. But he didn't look so brave when confronted with the sea and he didn't look so big when stood next to the Sun. So what does being big and brave mean? And why was he determined to be that way...?

Let's talk Ximo Abadía

LTPB: Where does the story of Goliath: The Boy Who Was Different come from?

XA: I believe that we are in a historical moment in which the difference has to be the important thing, what adds up. We are in a stage in which we build walls to differentiate races, provenances. And it is a mistake. Everyone is welcome and the difference makes us stronger, as big as a Goliath.

In the classic story we are taught that a big being has to be fearsome, I try to tell that story in another way, giving it another air. The first appearances deceive.

LTPB: Can you talk a little about the visual evolution of Goliath? When you got to know the characters, how did your illustrations change?

XA: Goliath was born being sketches at the fair in Bologna last year, like all stories, little by little they are growing and taking shape. There is an experimentation in graphic techniques, narrative and text. I wanted to try to reinvent a classic story, but adapt it to the concerns of today's society.

As always, the characters and decorations are changing little by little, it's like trying to cook a dish. To simmer. Before I get to the press, I'm changing details. It never has an end.

LTPB: What did you use to create the illustrations in this book? Is this your preferred medium?

XA: In this book I have used graphite pencils and stamping inks, I like the effect of mixing the three colors, yellow, red and blue. An optical game. My process in each book is usually different, I think that each book has to pose a new graphic challenge, new materials, techniques, etc.

Each book asks for a different graphic process.

LTPB: What are you working on now? 

XA: I just finished a book about the filmmaker George Méliès and in the month of July I start a new book with Big Picture Press, about science, but focused in another way.

LTPB: If you were to write the autobiography of your picture book, who (dead or alive) would you like to illustrate and why?

XA: If they were two illustrators who are dead, I would entrust them to Winsor Mccay and Edward Gorey. If it were two live illustrators, Robert Crumb and the Spanish illustrator Manuel Marsol.

Thank you to Ximo for talking to me about this book. hanks to Anna for taking time to answers some questions! Goliath: The Bow Who Was Different published last month from Little Gestalten.

Special thanks to Ximo and Little Gestalten for use of these images!

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