Meet the cover artist: Rosalinde Bonnet
The Babybug staff loved Rosalinde Bonnet’s brilliant artwork for the September issue! We were very happy when Rosalinde found time to discuss her work with us, and we’d like to thank her friend Jessica Shapiro for translating her comments from French.
Rosalinde lives in Versailles, France. If she hadn’t become an author and illustrator, her passion for animals probably would have led her into zoology. When she isn’t drawing or writing, Rosalinde likes to take photos, hike, and travel.
What was your illustration process for the September cover and for the poem “Five Little Peas”? What inspired you?
My creative process is rather simple. Most of the time, images just pop into my head when I read a text. I chose a rabbit for the cover, because in my opinion it symbolizes perfectly one of this month’s themes: “the garden.” Wanting the rabbit to be large enough in the frame, I drew droopy ears to save space. I tried out several compositions.
To illustrate the poem “Five Little Peas,” I depicted a badger. Although it’s an animal that I love, I seldom have the opportunity to draw it. I was particularly careful about getting the position of the peas just right, so they look like they’re bursting out of the pod.
Tell us about your path to becoming an artist.
As a child, I would draw for hours on end. I would often get into trouble in school because I doodled all over my notebooks during class. At home, my brother and sisters and I spent a lot of time inventing plays for our puppets. My father built us a beautiful puppet theater and my uncle, who is an interior designer, created wonderful sets. I started writing and illustrating stories when I was quite young.
After high school, I went to Versailles School of Fine Arts for two years, then I studied at the Higher National School of Decorative Arts of Paris for another four years. My first books were published in 2004, the year I graduated.
What do you like about illustrating for children?
It’s such a delight to create for children. They have so much imagination! They are open to fantasy, humor, poetry… Possibilities are endless when you work for kids.
In your opinion, what’s the best way to get a child interested in art?
I think children are curious about everything, but this curiosity should be carefully nurtured. It’s good to read them books with different styles of illustration, and to take them to the museum. It’s important to encourage manual activities: painting, sculpting, and collage.
At home, we would have drawing contests. My parents invented a game we enjoyed very much: they would show us a picture of a painting we didn’t know. Then each of us would imagine a story based on the painting. The more abstract the picture, the stranger our stories would become. We had lots of fun!
I illustrated a beautiful story by Jan Wahl about children and art: The Art Collector.
Did you have any favorite picture books when you were a child? How about now?
I had many favorite books as a child, but I was absolutely fascinated by Zeralda’s Ogre by Tomi Ungerer, Mouse Tales by Arnold Lobel, Les malheurs d’Ysengrin by Samivel, Morris’s Disappearing Bag by Rosemary Wells, The Tale of Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter, and Shrewbettina’s Birthday by John S. Goodall.
Today, I also adore A Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis, the Pigeon series by Mo Willems, the Scaredy Squirrel series by Melanie Watt, La belle aux ours nains by Emile Bravo, Le popotin de l’hippopo by Marc Boutavant and Didier Lévy . . . .
There are so many books I love that I can’t list them all!
Here at Babybug, we’re fans of the vivid animals you create. If you were an animal, what would you be?
I would definitely be a cat. I take many small naps during the day and I work non-stop at night. Also, I’m a great fan of my cat, Pousspouss!
To learn more about Rosalinde and the books she’s written and illustrated, please visit her website.
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