HomeBooks by AgeAges 0-3Illustration Inspiration: Yoko Tanaka, Creator of Dandelion’s Dream
Interview with Yoko Tanaka

Illustration Inspiration: Yoko Tanaka, Creator of Dandelion’s Dream

The Children’s Book Review | March 19, 2020

Yoko Tanaka has illustrated novels, including The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo, and picture books, including Princessland by Emily Jenkins and Sparrow Girl by Sara Pennypacker. Yoko Tanaka lives in London.

I make art because …

Drawing and painting express who I am more precisely than words.

My latest published book is …

Book Dandelion\'s DreamDandelion’s Dream

It’s wordless and ageless. I made this book for all generations. Some people might find the symbols of life everywhere in the book and some people might simply enjoy the journey of a tiny lion. I will be very happy if you feel somewhat encouraged by seeing a small individual’s cosmic energy inside its body.

Art medium used …

Charcoal pencils, compressed charcoal sticks.

Book art
Artistic process …

For tones and gradation, I ground charcoal sticks by sandpaper and rubbed the surface of the paper with those powders by a piece of chamois or fingers or cotton buds. I used self-adhesive clear masking sheets to make stencils for shapes. For details, I drew with charcoal pencils. After I finished all the drawings, I scanned them and added yellow tone digitally.

The tower of the city
Art by Yoko TanakaI am inspired by …

Human lives.

My favorite place to create & illustrate is …

In my studio. My best time to work is from midnight till 2 am.

Yoko Tanaka sitting at a desk in front of a window
My most used art supply or tool is …

Acrylic paint normally.

Illustrator idols …

Sempé, Daumier, Edward Gorey, Jean Cocteau.

All-time favorite children’s books I didn’t illustrate …

The Little Prince and Momo.

Currently working on …

I’m now working on my second wordless picture book. It’s again about nature, a tree this time. Also, in the circumstance that the coronavirus currently makes us stay at home, I would like to be as creative as possible to keep my spirit up.

For more information about Yoko Tanaka, you can visit yoko-tanaka.com, Instagram, and Facebook.

Book Dandelion\'s DreamDandelion’s Dream

Illustrated by Yoko Tanaka

Publisher’s Synopsis: What if a dandelion became a real lion? With enchanting, ethereal art, this wordless story shares a world where reality can be transfigured by imagination.

In a meadow filled with dandelion buds just about to flower, one dandelion blooms into a real lion. Roots and leaves unfurl into four tiny paws and a long tail with a fluffy yellow tuft. What a great, wide world there is to explore when you have paws instead of roots: there are fast trains to ride, regal ships to sail, and cities with lights as bright as Dandelion’s field in full bloom. But will a real lion ever be content to go back to being a rooted dandelion? Yoko Tanaka’s exquisite illustrations take us on an adventure where even the smallest seeds contain cosmic dreams.

A close up of a lion flower

Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Candlewick | February 11, 2020 | ISBN-13: 978-1536204537

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