Thursday, February 15, 2024

Q&A with Marion Kadi



Marion Kadi is the author and illustrator of the new children's picture book Harriet's Reflections


Q: What inspired you to create Harriet’s Reflections?


A: I was working on another story at the time and I felt stuck. There was a lion--a sculpted fountain and its reflection--in this other story. Somehow this character of the lion inspired me and became its own story.


Q: The Kirkus Reviews review of the book called it a “highly original tale of trying on—and ultimately integrating—multiple identities.” What do you think of that description?


A: I’m very happy and proud when people take the time to read my book, to think about it, and to write about it.


When I’m writing, I don’t start from the interpretation or the theme. I stay inside the logic of the story, the narrative, and the characters. I don’t articulate the story to myself in terms of the message it might convey. But I’m happy that people have found the book meaningful.


Q: Did you work on the text first or the illustrations first--or did you work on them simultaneously?


A: Simultaneously, the whole way through. Sometimes the story would push the illustration, sometimes an illustration idea would motivate the narrative.


Q: How did you develop your artistic style?


A: I think about style a lot, both when I’m working and when I’m reading. I spend a lot of time going to museums, looking at art books, and falling into rabbit holes on the internet--a new project I’m working on right now came out of one of these rabbit holes. 


In order to make Harriet, I felt like I had to develop a new illustration style, different both from my commercial work and from my paintings. That was hard.


Q: What are you working on now? 


A: I’m preparing a little solo show in Paris--that’s the rabbit hole.


Q: Anything else we should know? 


A: You can commission paintings from me! A portrait, or an illustration for a child. I’ve also been working on a very special ABC book with a friend. Look out for it!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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