Interview with Christina Bollenbach, illustrator and kids books author
Christina Bollenbach is a talented kids book illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia known for her charming series of children's books.
How did you get your first illustration job?
My first illustration job was a series of oil paintings. A client who saw my paintings at Uni asked me to illustrate the four seasons.
What do you love most about being a children's book illustrator/author?
The audience. Kids are very direct and imaginative and it is great to see them connecting with a story.
I also love the creative part. Developing the visuals for a children's book is a nonstop process, which makes it a quite intense experience. That's probably what I love most about it: the intensity.
What is most challenging about it?
I find everything easy, just right to the last step when it comes to finalizing the artwork and that is where I can really struggle. There are hundreds of great ways to illustrate a story or a content and it takes me a lot of time and effort to choose the right one and to overcome that step. But once I made it through that phase it's getting easy again.
Which comes first – the illustrations or the writing of a book?
The story comes first. It is a long process to finish and edit the text. The next step is the storyboard. This is probably my favorite part because it is so rich in opportunities and ideas. Once the visual story is developed the artwork is finalized.
Do you remember which illustrated children's books were your favorites back when you were a young reader and why?
I do! It was a "Lion in the meadow" by Margaret Mahy.
It is about a boy coming to his mother telling her that there is a lion sitting in the meadow. She doesn't believe him and gives him a box of matches, telling him that there is a dragon inside who will scare the lion away. Unfortunately the dragon becomes alive and the mother, the boy and the lion have a big problem in common! The story – as short as it is – is full of little twists and the illustrations by Jenny Williams are just fantastic – very sensitive on one side and very strong in colour and expression on the other.
What can you tell us about your future projects?
I am going to work under the name of "Red Boot & Blue Sandal Design" from a small home office with a strong focus on commercial design and illustration. The first projects to be realized under this name is a set of hand printed tea towels, a children's memory set about sun-safety, the design for a social app and the development design for a 40ft Container Beach House!
To know more about Christina and her work please visit http://christinabollenbach.com/
Christina's t-shirt prints for Lycorne: