A conversation with Tauno

  What inspired you to illustrate Under the Magical Sky?

I had been drawing this character for about five years and wanted to make a book, but I’m not a writer, so after a few pages I stopped. Then Valeria told me she wanted to write an inspirational book for children, and she envisioned the beautiful girl I had been drawing as the main character. I liked the idea and the concept for the book a lot. I felt her story would bring the girl I had been drawing to life, so I was happy to partner and make the illustrations.

  What was your process in illustrating the book?

Usually I don’t plan what I am going to draw. I just try to express some feeling or thought, something I normally don’t know how to say—other than through a drawing. But illustrating a book is a bit different because you cannot stray too far from the story.

I read each chapter, and then started drawing. I usually completed one drawing per day. For most of the illustrations, there was only one version. For others, there were two or three versions.

From a technical perspective, I first drew with a pencil on white paper. Then, I manipulated the image on a computer to look like it would appear in the book, which is white on black. When you manipulate the drawing and switch the light and dark, that changes the feeling. No matter what I have done, I looked to express the genuine feelings and values presented in this adventure between Ella and Leo.

  What do you hope children will take away from the book?

To use their imagination, so when they look at the drawings they see something other than black and white. They imagine any colors. That way, they become part of the creative process.

  Have you ever illustrated a children’s book before?

Only for myself, but I never finished them.

  Did you always want to be an artist?

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, but honestly, I am not sure what it means to be an artist. I am curious and like to learn and do different things; some are more what you might call "art" than others. But to me, it's all the same. Art is everywhere. We can be inspired by anything.

The truth is, I've always enjoyed and done art-related things, but I don’t know if that makes me an artist. I just love what I do.