HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Illustration Inspiration: Yuval Zommer, Illustrator of The Big Book of the Blue

Illustration Inspiration: Yuval Zommer, Illustrator of The Big Book of the Blue

The Children’s Book Review | December 12, 2018

Yuval Zommer studied at the Royal College of Art, London. He has worked as a creative director at many top advertising agencies, and has written and illustrated several children’s books, including The Big Book of Bugs, The Big Book of Beasts, and The Big Book of the Blue.

I make art because …

I always wanted to write and draw my own stories. As a child I used to draw all the time, in fact our family dogs were my first “models!”  After studying illustration at London’s Royal College of Art I worked in advertising for a while, but found that all I really wanted to do was make picture books. I love how in illustrated books, both fiction and non-fiction, art meets words to create something special.

My latest published book is …

The Big Book of the Blue which is big, blue, and all about the wonderful creatures that live in our oceans.

P 50-51 Dolphins © 2018 Yuval Zommer

P 50-51 Dolphins © 2018 Yuval Zommer

Art medium used …

I use digital as I work in Photoshop and sketch/draw/paint all my books on a Wacom tablet. If you’re thinking of getting such tablet I recommend the largest size and a very long desk for your computer and tablet and sketchbooks and digital pens and whatever else you need. Oh, and one of those fancy office chairs with wheels that spins around!

I still love paper and pencils and crayons though and whenever I have drawing and craft events with kids my favorite medium for drawing is Sharpie markers which now come in an array of colors.

Artistic process …

I start with the characters first and then they sort of start telling their own individual stories. I do always begin with an image in my mind of the setting but once the characters start inhabiting the page things just happen and the initial compositions may often change. So I guess the pages evolve from sketches to finished artwork somewhere along the process which still surprises me.

I am inspired by …

Mother Nature, who I consider to be the best artist/designer/ scientist ever. There is just so much ingenuity and beauty in nature! I am particularly fascinated by the intricate patterns and textures which are all around us if you just look closely: such as the wings of the tiniest bug, the veins on a leaf, or the beautifully perfect shape of a pebble. I guess I still look at the world through a child’s eyes.

P 18-19 Jellyfish © 2018 Yuval Zommer

My favorite place to create & illustrate is …

My studio at my home. My desk has to face large sash windows since even though I work digitally, I need lots of daylight. I used to have a wonderful view of trees and an old church and dog walkers, but my current view is more urban landscape, however it’s the contrast of the buzz outside and the quite inside that works for me.

My most used art supply or tool is …

Those digital stylo pens, I seem to run through them for some reason. So always have some spare ones.

Illustrator idols …

Miroslav Sasek who wrote and illustrated the great “This is New York” as well as many more cities for his well-loved vintage travelogue series, I would like to collect them all! Also Lane Smith, whose charming “There is a tribe of kids” I adore. And last but not least the work of wonderfully whimsical poet and awesome artist Calef Brown (@CalefBrown).

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

“The Little Prince” and “The Jungle Book,” both were childhood favorites, actually they still are.

A literary character to create art with …

The Little Prince, who travels through the universe, visiting stars and having conversations with a fox amongst other things. Such an iconic figure and well understood by children worldwide.

Currently working on …

The Big Book of Birds which is due for spring 2019 and is the latest from my “Big Books” series published by the great Thames & Hudson. Did you know my publisher was so named after New York’s Hudson River and London’s Thames River, thereby symbolizing the meeting of the new modern world with the old European world? And the logo is the two dolphins!

You can find me on both Twitter:  @yuvalzommer as well as Instagram: @yuvalzommer where I regularly post about work in progress, upcoming signings, book festival dates and more. I’ll be happy to hear from you! 

The Big Book of the BlueThe Big Book of the Blue

Written and Illustrated by Yuval Zommer

Publisher’s Synopsis: Following the wild success of The Big Book of Bugs and The Big Book of Beasts, The Big Book of the Blue is the third installment in Yuval Zommer’s beloved series. Alongside everything the young oceanographer needs to know, Zommer’s charming illustrations bring to life some of the slipperiest, scaliest, strangest, and most monstrous underwater animals.

The book opens by explaining how different types of animals are able to breathe and survive underwater, and the different families to which they belong. Subsequent pages are dedicated to specific creatures, including sea turtles, whales, sharks, stingrays, and seahorses, and show varied life in specific habitats, such as a coral reef or deep sea bed. The Big Book of the Blue also explores the underwater world thematically, looking at animals in danger, learning how to spot creatures at the beach, and discovering how to do our part to save sea life. Beautiful and filled with fascinating facts, young, curious readers won’t be able to tear their eyes away from the page.

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Thames & Hudson | June 5, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0500651193

Available Here: 

Discover more picture book illustration inspiration and books like The Big Book of Blue, created by Yuval Zommer, on The Children’s Book Review by following along with our Illustration Inspiration series and articles tagged with , and .

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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