Gulgul is not really sure where she comes from – then her entire family decides to tell her the story of the magical day she entered their lives. And Gulgul realises that she’s far more special than even she knew! This tender story in rhyme by Shobha Viswanath is illustrated in acrylic by Christine Tappin and talks about the wonderful experience of having a child in your life.
The artist Christine Tappin graduated in 2007 from Christ Church University in Canterbury, Kent, where she studied for her degree in Fine Art. She currently works from her Kent-based studio, painting pictures for children's books and making greeting cards.
We interviewed Christine about the illustration process and her general thoughts on the story.
Did you like the story? Why?
I loved this story right from the start! I can easily relate to whose lovely child as my aunt and uncle were in the process of adopting when I first started this project. Now that the book is about to be published, I'm thrilled that I can share this story with my new cousins! We are so happy that they are a part of our family, a true blessing for us. I hope that when we read this story to them, they can understand how special they are.
I like to create my images using Photoshop as it allows me to continue experimenting right up until the last minute. I find that working on a canvas sometimes means that you are committed to shapes and colours as soon as you lay them down. Photoshop definitely allows you more freedom.
One of the most unusual things about the artwork in the book is the use of perspective. Is this part of your natural style or is it something that you evolved for this book? How hard was it for you to maintain exact dimensions when showing characters (and their shadows) from different viewpoints?
I really like to draw images from unusual angles, as I feel it lends my pictures a dream-like quality. I find that this is one of the benefits of working in digital media, as its very easy to move the characters around, and adjust them to how you visualize it in your mind. It can be challenging to find the correct angles, and does take a lot of experimenting and patience, but its definitely worth it in the end.
Adapting your artwork to Indian characters and milieus must have been a challenge. Have you ever been to India? What reference points did you use?
I've never been to India unfortunately, but would really love to go some day. I'm very lucky that my best friend Sophia is from India, so she was able to help me out a lot with this project. It was a little challenging at the beginning, as I wasn't sure what the traditional attire was for the characters, especially the women! I used the internet a lot and also watched a few Indian films to give me a better sense of the fashion and culture.
Any last thoughts on the book or the process?
I hope that the readers can enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed working on it!