Olaf Hajek is the creator, with Christine Paxmann, of the new children's picture book Flower Power: The Magic of Nature's Healers. He is an illustrator, painter, graphic designer, and author, and he's based in Berlin, Germany.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Flower Power, and how did you pick the flowers you included?
A: I love flora and fauna and think that flowers are the most inspiring objects to paint. They are such strong symbols for birth and death and evanescence. My idea was to do portraits of medical plants and create a special world around them.
Q: What kind of research did you do to illustrate the book, and did you learn anything that especially surprised you?
A: I researched all possible medical and healing plants, and of course have chosen the most beautiful ones with a strong visual character.
I was surprised how easy it was to create this wonderful and fairytale world around them.
This was the biggest joy, to keep the balance between a fictional colorful world and the scientific representation of the flowers.
Q: Of the flowers you include in the book, do you have a few favorites?
A: Oh, I love them all, but if I have to choose a favorite I would have to decide between the strong artichoke and the fragile bluebell.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from the book?
A: I hope they get a lot of inspiration and fun but also learn something about the amazing power of medical plants. We see flowers and don’t know anything about them. The story behind each flower is very exciting and educational.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am working on my next book project for the same publisher. It will be about vegetables: Veggie Power!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb