Eve Bluefoot and Paul Rusack came together to create a new children’s book called Douglas’s Starry Adventure. I know many of you are interested in writing and illustrating your own children’s books so they are going to share their story.
First of all please can you tell us a bit about yourselves.
Paul Rusack – Children’s Book Writer
Paul spent his early years travelling and working in both Asia and Europe. In 2000, following a four-year study, he gained a first class degree in Lens Based Media and Design (BA Honors). Post graduation, he worked and lived in Central London. This period saw much of his design and photography appear in various Lifestyle and Design publications and National Photography magazines
Years after being part of the ‘nine-to-five design faculty’ Paul worked as a freelance designer. This allowed him to engage his other interest and consequent occupation in boats and boat handling instruction.
In 2015, following a decade of living on a boat in London, Paul moved to Italy. Settled into a picturesque village in the Apennine mountains of Emilia Romagna, far from the crowds, Paul has turned his efforts towards creative writing and in particular children’s stories.
Eve Bluefoot – Children’s Book Illustrator
Eve Bluefoot is an Italian self-taught water colourist and polymer clay artist. Her love for art showed at a very young age. In kindergarten, she spent most of her time focussed on painting and modelling with plasticine.
Growing up in Italy, a country renowned for its style, the fashion field soon drew her attention. This interest gained her a diploma at the I.T.A.S. (Istituto Technico Saffi/Alberti) – a school for fashion designers in the Italian town of Forlì in Emilia Romagna. After her studies, besides fashion, she focused her creativity on other artistic practises. These included pottery, knitting, sewing, and modelling clay.
In 2016, while living in Germany, Eve’s interest in illustrating was enhanced following attendance at classes on comic book art. So inspired by the course, she began giving life to what she now regards as her ‘piccoli personaggi divertenti’ (funny little characters). Eve now sells these innovative and curious artistic characters around the world. Further to this, her work is on show in various art galleries across the United States.
Please can you describe the book and what it’s about.
The book is a story about Douglas, a very curious duck who visits the lake every day. One day he asks his mother if he can stay at the lake all night. Of course, his mother says no. It is too dangerous for a young duck at night with foxes around.
However, Douglas doesn’t listen. He goes to the lake that night and he is amazed by what he sees.
Unfortunately, it is very cold that night and Douglas gets stuck in the ice. Also, there is a cunning fox waiting by the lake to eat duck for his breakfast. A series of events lead to a surprising ending.
How did the collaboration between the two of you come about?
We met in the school of Feldenkrais based in Strigara in Emilia Romagna, Italy. Paul was attending the school where Eve was a translator. After hearing from another student that Paul was writing children stories the two were introduced and from a slow beginning began to work on their first joint project.
How did the collaboration process work?
Mostly by email at first. After which we met in a small bar in the village of Sant Agata where we ‘fine tuned’ our ideas further.
How did you develop the illustrations, what was your process?
Paul had already written out the scenes for each page, describing also very meticulously where the main characters had to be, their expressions, etc.
So Eve followed what were some what rudimentary instructions, having complete freedom to add secondary characters or anything else that she thought would have enriched the story.
Following each sketch, either by email or meeting up, we would change, agree, alter each page until we were both happy. The sketches were originally drawn in pencil outlines. Once complete these illustrations were ‘time consumingly’ hand traced using vector lines on a computer.
These graphic outlines were then coloured into the colours that make up the book. The typography was then added into pre agreed spaces in the illustrations with no detail behind the type to make reading clear and easy. A colour was selected from each image to become the colour of the font, in effect tying in the writing to the images.
Where can we find your book?