September 3, 2019

Let's Talk Illustrators #117: Ingela P. Arrhenius

I caught up with Ingela P. Arrhenius, book creator extraordinaire. Each one of Ingela's books is unique in design, from die-cuts to oversize trim sizes, from board books to picture books. Today I'm talking to Ingela about her Bookscape Board Book series, which is seeing two titles––A Marvelous Museum and A Forest's Seasons––publish in the US today. Enjoy our conversation! 

About the book:
Escape into a magical world with this adorable Bookscape Board Book series! Delightfully petite and chunky, this book begs to be picked up thanks to its tactile, toylike quality. With simple concept-based text and jubilant illustrations, this series provides a light introduction to concepts kids will recognize—or soon encounter.

Let's talk Ingela P. Arrhenius!

LTPB: Your books are different sizes and shapes -- how do you determine how you’re going to a size of a book? And how does the text of the book determine what size the book will be? 

IA: The Bookscape Board Books are a bit tricky to make, but a fun challenge. I always start with how the book will look closed, ensuring that something interesting from each page will appear when you look at it from the front. Then it is important that it won't be too wide or too high. Then I start to draw scenery that I want to include in the book. And when I see two shapes that are a bit similar, I put them back-to-back so they can share one die-cut shape.

LTPB: What did you use to create the illustrations in this book? 

IA: Other than my imagination, I used paper, pencil, and Illustrator.

LTPB: It looks like you do a lot of commissioned work and side projects! Can you tell me what else you do in addition to writing and illustrating children’s books? 

IA: I work on all kinds of products such as wooden toys, wall art, and children’s clothes. I also work with ceramics, like plates, vases etc. I LOVE to work in different formats.

LTPB: What are you working on now? Anything you can show us? 

IA: I have recently finished a new collection of toys for French wooden toy company vilac (out next year), I am continuing working on my board books with felt flap for English Nosy Crow and in October My First Book of New York (Walker studio) will be out. A new oversized Animaux (from French publishing house Marcel & Joachim) will also be out later this year. And I am continuing work for Dutch Kitsch Kitchen, primarily vases and plates. I also worked on a personal project this summer painting on vintage porcelain, like plates, cans, and bowls. I have exhibited them in my summer village but I will now bring them to Freiburg in Southern Germany for an exhibition.

Also, another Bookscape Board Book about Christmas:

LTPB: If you were to write your picture book autobiography, who (dead or alive!) would you want to illustrate it, and why? 

IA: Well then I would pick a Swede: Olle Eksell (1918-2007), a fantastic graphic designer and illustrator who has inspired a lot of Swedish designers.

A million thanks to Ingela for taking time to answers some questions! A Marvelous Museum and A Forest's Seasons publish today from Chronicle Books!

Special thanks to Ingela and Chronicle Books for use of these images!


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