Today's interview is with author & illustrator Emily Rand, who is the mastermind behind the barkingly brillant, A DOG DAY. So without further ado, get ready for a whole load of doggy related questions!
Emily Rand is an illustrator and educator based in London. She illustrates, designs and makes books, mainly for children. She also runs and programmes workshops for families, children and young people in schools and galleries. Emily currently works for both the Serpentine Gallery and Cubitt Education.
BWB: A Dog Day is produced entirely in black and white, did you enjoy working without having to worry about colour?
ER: Yes, working in black and white allowed me to think more about the patterns, textures and tones of the illustrations. Sometimes I find that colour can be a bit difficult, striking the right balance between too bright, too dull or too many different colours. Many of the children's books that have inspired me from the past, the illustrators were working with a limited colour palate in maybe two or three colours because of the printing methods, so I suppose I have also been influenced by these too.
BWB: Is the dog in Dog Day based on a family or friends pet?
ER: Not really, although my own dog Jack who died a few years ago who was a border collie cross and was a big fan of walks and the park. The dog in the book was originally going to be a greyhound/whippet type dog, but a big fluffy, curly airedale was just so much fun to draw!
BWB: What inspired the story?
ER: I was inspired by how patient and loyal dogs are. I often see dogs waiting outside shops for their owners, desperately watching the door for their owners to return. Dogs are eternal optimists, I imagine that every time they leave the house they are expecting to go to the park or for a really great long walk, even when the owner has other ideas!
BWB: I love French Bull Dogs. What's your favourite breed of dog?
ER: I love pretty much all breeds of dog, but the bigger and fluffier the better! One day when I move out of London I would love to get a great big poodle or an airdale!
BWB: I've seen from your work that you experiment a lot when you create new illustrations. What's your favourite medium to use?
ER: Actually most of my work is done with black fine liner pens! Maybe sometimes indian ink and a brush. In A Dog Day I mixed this with collage for some of the blocks of pattern or texture. I am also really interested in different printing techniques and the quality of the printed illustration on the paper, so some of my other books have been printed in small runs on a risograph printer which is somewhere between a photocopier and screen-printing.
BWB: Who inspires you most in the art world?
ER: This is hard, I have lots of favourite artists and illustrators! I really like artists who have a sense of fun or playfulness to their work. I am inspired by lots of illustrators and cartoonists who use simple line work that looks so light and effortless, such as: Saul Steinburg, Jean-Jacques Sempé and Quentin Blake. I admire the amount of character and emotion they can convey with just a few tiny lines, it's magic!
BWB: Which picture book has had the biggest impact on your work?
ER: I have so many favourite picture books that it is really difficult to pick one! I think unconventional children's books by people like Bruno Munari really changed my ideas about what a children's book could be, that they could be more experimental in their form, The Circus in the Mist was the first book I saw by him. Also Iela Mari, the wife of the artist and designer Enzo Mari created some beautiful wordless picture books in the 1950s and 60s: The Red Balloon, The Apple and the Butterfly and The Chicken and the Egg. The illustrations in these books are so timeless they look like they could have been published last year.
But I do also love a really good story! And some of my favourite books growing up such as The Tiger who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr or Dogger by Shirley Hughes no doubt had a huge impact on me and my work.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Emily. If you'd like to see more of Emily's work visit her spendid website.