Acclaimed multi-media artist Lilli Carré recently made her children's book debut with Tippy and the Night Parade, which is garnering rave reviews from highbrow critics to the toughest crowd to please, discerning three year olds. Enjoy this TOON Author Spotlight!
Quite messy, I’m afraid! I really let it get overgrown, and then have a turbo clean up session every now and then. I have every intention of keeping it neat, but I just collect and accumulate so many little objects and get into my work so much that I end up creating a bird’s nest around me!
If you could go back in time and give 5-year-old Lilli Carré advice, what would it be?
Go on as many little outdoor adventures as you can and enjoy yourself. And maybe don’t squeeze your cats so hard.
You are an artist that works in many different media. Do you do similar work in different media, or does the medium you are working in affect the content of your work?
The medium definitely affects the content of the work. That’s part of why I like working in different forms like comics, animation, drawing, print, and ceramics it allows me to approach a certain line of thinking in a different way and play with a completely new set of constraints.
This is your first children's book. Did you approach the work differently?
It was an interesting challenge to try to write for a different audience than I have before, and to really try to think about how the story would be experienced through the eyes and mind of a kid. I like coming up with different ways to play with the formal qualities of comics, but for a children’s book I also had to consider the logic that a kid would understand and especially respond to. I wanted to give my story a circular narrative structure, because that’s a characteristic of some of my favorite children’s books that I read growing up. I also wanted it to be a little interactive, and so I included the part of the story where the characters fall down a hole, prompting the book to be turned sideways. I was hoping that this would be fun and surprising part of the book, and from what I have heard it seems to be a favorite moment in the story!
You are a curator of animation and film work. Are there one or two you think are must watch for kids?
The Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation isn’t geared for kids in particular, but here are some that we’ve shown that I think are pretty universally delightful, and that kids might enjoy:
Your animal drawings have been described by Library School Journal as having "logo like precision." You do a lot of your work on the computer, but do you also draw from life?
I do a lot of my illustration and some comics work using a tablet, including the Tippy book. I’m always drawing on paper as well though... I can’t get enough of trying out different tools, inks, and paints all the time. I draw from life sometimes, but my sketchbooks are mostly filled with drawings of characters and things from my imagination.
Do you sleep walk? Do you know anyone who does?
Sleepwalking does show up in my stories fairly often for someone who doesn’t sleepwalk themselves... But what I like about the action of sleepwalking is the idea of having secret excursions, where your mind is in a dream world and your body in the real world, and you are simultaneously having different adventures in both. You could be living a whole separate life at night that you are never aware of. Who knows, maybe I do sleepwalk but no one has ever told me!
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