Krista Brennan’s The Storytellers – Q&A

Illustrator and fine artist Krista Brennan’s great attention to detail and colours found inside The Storytellers left us wanting to know more… so, we interviewed her.

Q: What was it about Robert’s story that drew you into illustrating it?

A: I think the whole premise of the story is very personal to me since I’m a creative person myself. I really felt a connection to all the characters, particularly the illustrator Imani. 

Q: At the beginning of this project how did you visualise the concepts Robert Vescio presented through text?

A: I have a really visual internal life, so whenever I read or listen to anything I see very clear images in my head. Even in answering these questions, I can picture someone sitting in front of their computer reading the answers! Growing up this was very distracting and made focusing really difficult (and I now know it’s a part of my ADHD), but it has been such an asset to illustration. So, as soon as I read the text, I can see the pictures forming clearly in my mind. The image on pages 16-17 where Imani is sketching, and the images are forming in front of her in the air is a representation of what it’s like for me. Robert also gave some guidance on what he thought the pages might look like, and I would often work with those ideas as a base.  

Q: Do you have an example of a page where you believe you’ve enlarged on what is explicitly presented in the text? 

A: I’m always thinking about how my illustrations can enhance what is happening in the text, and one of the main things I added was the visual theme of the dragon on various pages through the text. There’s not quite a dragon on every page, but I wanted to have referenced throughout in various ways, developing from a small wisp on pages 6-7 to a full dragon on 12-13, and then becoming more solid and real until it’s at the entrance to the theme park on page 28.

Q: What page or spread are you the proudest of in The Storytellers and why?

A: I think I’m most proud of the cover, and it captures all the characters in their childhood, when they are first finding their creativity, and brings them together in a way that doesn’t happen in the story. I like the warmth and dreaminess of it, and it makes me think of happy moments in my own childhood, climbing trees and being imaginative.

Q: Can you tell us about your design journey and how easy or difficult this particular project was compared to your previous body of works?

A: I always start with storyboard sketches and character designs to get a sense of how things are going to look. Having so many different characters is always a challenge as it means I have to design several people (and each person at two different ages) so it took a little while to get that right. I was also using a new program to paint these illustrations so there was a bit of a learning curve in knowing how to use the brushes and tools properly. The hardest part was the book shop scene on pages 20-21 as I had to paint the cover of each book by hand. I wasted some time trying to work out if there was a short cut way to do it, but it never looked the way I wanted, so in the end I just did them all individually! I think the piece of design I was happiest with was the dragon, because it had a personal significance for me. When I was around 11 years old, I drew a dragon and entered it into an art competition at my school. I didn’t win, but only because the judges thought it looked too good and I must have had help from a parent! The dragon in this story is the same style of dragon I drew for that competition, so I’m really happy to think it can finally have a place in the world (and no-one will tell me I had help with it!)

Click here to get your copy of The Storytellers

Click here to watch The Storytellers book trailers

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights