As a child, Rosalinde could not decide whether she wanted to be a wildlife biologist, a writer or an illustrator. But, because she spent most of her time doodling (even all over her notebooks during class!) or creating plays and sets for her puppets, she finally decided to study art after high school.
She went first to the Versailles School of Fine Arts (2 years), then to the Académie Charpentier in Paris (1 year), and lastly she joined the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (4 years).
Since then, Rosalinde has written and/or illustrated numerous books like Daddy Honk Honk!, Poppy's Best Babies, Poppy's Best Paper, Ella and Penguin series, and Zip! Zoom! On a Broom.
When she isn't working or reading in her studio near Paris, Rosalinde likes hiking in wild places, taking photos, and making vegan pastries.
Which books did you love as a child?
I was particularly fascinated by classic fairytales (Perrault, Andersen, Grimm and Afanasyev) as well as the books by Beatrix Potter, Tomi Ungerer, Rosemary Wells, and John Strickland Goodall. My favourite books were Tom Kitten, Two Bad Mice (image, left), Zeralda’s Ogre, Noisy Nora, Shrewbettina’s Birthday, Creepy Castle and The Midnight Adventures of Kelly, Dot and Esmeralda.
These authors and my parents, who told me a lot of stories each day, deeply inspired my love of books and made me want to become an author-illustrator at a very young age.
I would love to live in the ideal world of Daddy Honk Honk: vast, peaceful landscapes without any pollution where there lives a warm, joyful and helpful community who has nothing to fear from humans. Also, I am a big fan of the cosy eco-house of the fox, his rocking chair and his bunny slippers!
When I receive a manuscript, I read it several times, I doodle everything that pops into my head and I determine the page breaks.
Then, I do character designs and I choose the illustration method. For stories written by others, it depends of the atmosphere, the setting and the characters. I try several techniques and papers, then I choose what works best. For my books, most of time the stories come from drawings. So it often depends of my favorite medium of the moment. For years, I worked with acrylic. But now I prefer ink and watercolor. Recently, I also developed a passion for felt pens. So it’s very likely that one of my next books will be illustrated in that way.
If the team likes the look of my characters, I go on to thumbnails and sketches. This is my favorite part! I love finding ideas, working on compositions, thinking about little details… For me, in a picture book, the art must not just turn words into pictures in a symmetrical interaction. The illustrations have to expand the words, even often by telling stories which are not in the text. I storyboard the whole story, trying different compositions through very rough tiny sketches. When I determined what work best, I do more detailed sketches at full-scale with text.
Once all the sketches are approved by the editorial team, I go on to the final art.
My studio is beneath the roof so I only see the sky from my drawing table. However I have a view on a multitude of fantasy worlds since my walls are covered with illustrations by some of my favourite illustrators: Arthur Rackam, Ivan Bilibin, Gustave Doré, Kay Nielsen, Edmond Dulac… During my breaks, I often stand on a stool to look out the window. Then I see delightful 1900’s houses surrounded by trees. I love to watch the birds. Apparently my roof is highly valued by the crows. My neighbours will end up thinking I am a witch!
Actually, I rather wish my work contains the qualities which I admire in my favourite picture books, especially the ones by Tomi Ungerer: a subtle combination of poetry and mischief, and the ability to tell a rich story with a few, perfectly chosen words and lines. As Picasso said: “Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.""
I love to create fantasy worlds which can be source of joy, dream and inspiration. Picture books can have a real magic power. Personally, I never separated from my childhood books. They are my treasure!
I think the most challenging part when you are a creator is to always believe in yourself and stay authentic. The path being long and full of pitfalls, some can be tempted to follow the trends in order to sell projects easier/quicker, and to self-censure by fear of criticisms and controversies. The risk is to produce a consumer product instead of a real artistic creation.