I was lucky to get a chance to chat with multi-award winning Italian illustrator Chiara Fedele about her illustration processes for The Stars Will Be My Nightlight: A Sukkot Story, written by Jen Halpern. I hope you enjoy our chat!
Can we sleep in the sukkah? the son asks his mom. She worries that it will be cold and dark, and that it might rain. "But the stars will be my nightlight," the boy says, to which the mom smiles.
Let’s talk Chiara Fedele!
LTPB: How did you become the illustrator of The Stars Will Be My Nightlight: A Sukkot Story? What were the first images that popped into your mind when you saw Jen Halpern’s text?
CF: My Agency astound.us collaborate with Kar-Ben Publishing. They have been my clients for a few years now, I have done some very interesting books for them. I suddenly thought about a garden in the night. Even if can be a tiny space, is a nature corner near a house, plants, flowers and insects and some animals too. There is a magic and mysterious atmosphere in night time.
LTPB: What did you find most difficult in creating this book? What did you find most rewarding?
CF: The most difficult thing is create emotional and various illustrations when the story take places in a very specific range of time and little space. So I used different point of views, prospective, close up and wide shot.
I worked on this book in traditional medium. I painted every artwork in a very free way also nature is my favourite subject. I felt very free because Kar-Ben gives me so much freedom in my process. So, yes, has been very rewarding.
LTPB: What did you use to create the illustrations in this book? Is this your preferred medium? How does your process change from book to book?
CF: I usually use mixed traditional medium: watercolour, gouache and coloured pencils on 100% cotton paper. I love to make some experiments on my artwork and mixed media gives me the chance to do variations in the process. Sometimes I change the painting surface, I like different kind of paper. 100% cotton is the most resistant. Sometimes I use just gouache or I add some acrylic and when the artwork of the book need to be stronger I use more hatch and sketching lines with coloured pencils. Otherwise I use more watercolours and pencils when I want more movement and softness. I am always open to try new tools in illustration.
LTPB: What are you working on now? Anything you can show us?
CF: I am currently finishing a book for a British Publisher. Is very interesting because are 7 stories set in the same place but in different time ages. From the stone age from modern times. And I am working in traditional, so very happy about it. The title is Once Upon a Hillside written by Angela McAllister Published by Zephir Books. I can show you some already finished and details of the illustrations. And the cover of course. I will finish this for this summer then I will be ready for new books coming.
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?
CF: That’s a good question. I am lucky to have as best friends some very talented Illustrators so I would ask each of them to do a part. They are Marina Marcolin, Riccardo Guasco, Carla Manea, Mauro Mazzara.
Thanks to Chiara for answering some questions! The Stars Will Be My Nightlight published from Kar-Ben Publishing yesterday!
Special thanks to Chiara and Kar-Ben for use of these images!
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August 2, 2022 at 10:32AM firstname.lastname@example.org (Mel Schuit)