Oddbird isn’t worried about his feathers; he wants to go for a refreshing dip. But he doesn’t fit in. He’s not fancy, or colorful. He’s just…different. The other birds don’t want him around. How can he join them?
DD: The idea itself first came from a drawing I did. I imagined a bird with no colour in a jungle full of colourful birds. As I thought about the drawing some more, the story started to emerge. A lot of it came from my own experience of being part of an immigrant family and growing up closeted in a traditional household. When you’re young, you want to fit in and you often act like someone you’re not just to feel accepted. I’m thankful that I eventually found the courage to live an authentic life and to free myself from such disguises much like Oddbird did in the story.
As for using colour in the story, I think it’s what I gravitate to naturally. I like creating work that’s lively, happy and graphic and colour just adds to all of that!
LTPB: Can you talk a little bit about the visual evolution of your characters? As you got to know them, how did your illustrations evolve?
DD: Since I’ve been working on this story for a few years, the characters and the style itself changed. I think my own style changed throughout the years and therefore the characters changed as well. The story also influenced the characters. Initially, it was all about Oddbird but as I started illustrating the book and creating all the side characters, their personality started coming out which was influencing the story as I went along.
LTPB: What differences have you found between creating a picture book on your own (text and illustrations) versus illustrating someone else’s text?
DD: Well, it’s a lot easier because you can change the story or illustration as you see fit! That’s one of the pros of being your own author-illustrator. I think a big difference is also when I’m doing my own book, I’m often writing with the visual of the page already in my head. So I basically write words to match the image in my head.
LTPB: What did you use to create the illustrations in this book? How does your process change from book to book?
DD: I use Photoshop for the whole process. I illustrate first then colour/collage in the program as well. It is currently my preferred medium, but I am looking forward to drawing/painting again one day.
As for my process, I feel it stays the same for the most part. I make rough thumbnails of the whole book then I continue to refine the images until I’m satisfied then I go on to colour.
LTPB: What are you working on now?
DD: I’ll be working on a new book about the life of the shoe designer, Jimmy Choo which will come out 2023. As for the other projects… stay tuned!
LTPB: If you got the chance to write your own picture book autobiography, who (dead or alive!) would you want to illustrate it, and why?
DD: Well I’m a huge fan of Ludwig Bemelmans! I love his style and I love his Madeline stories so I would say him!
June 29, 2021 at 10:30AM email@example.com (Mel Schuit)