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Five questions for Christian Robinson

Christian Robinson

Photo: John Kwiatkowski.

Another (Atheneum, 3–7 years) is the debut of acclaimed illustrator Christian Robinson working as both author and illustrator…in a wordless, sci-fi picture book about cats, wormholes (or maybe parallel universes?), friendship, and play. Filled with color and joy, the book alters perceptions and stretches imaginations.

1. Another is your first solo picture book — and it’s wordless! Was it always?

CR: No! I actually didn’t set out to make a wordless book. The story first came to me as pictures in my head. When I sketched them out, I found myself trying to put words to the pictures. The words ended up mostly being descriptions of what was happening on the page, and I realized this story could be shown rather than told.

2. There’s so much humor and exuberance (and mystery). Was it as much fun to create as it is to read?

CR: I like this question, mostly because it feels like a compliment. Yes! With every book I illustrate, I try to make sure that I am enjoying the process. I believe that all things are energy, and the vibe or frequency I like to stay on when illustrating is playful and fun. It’s my hope that the viewer can receive that feeling.

3. Did your animation background come into play?

CR: In a way, there are a lot of similarities between animation and picture books. In traditional animation, you literally had to flip pages back and forth to bring movement to characters. In this book, I’m inviting the viewer to flip pages back and forth to help unlock the story.

4. Did you ever confuse yourself? How did you keep track?

CR: All the time. I actually had to create character design models for each set of “anothers” so that I could figure out what made them similar to and different from each other. I even went as far as to make sure the beads in the girls’ hair were consistently opposite of each other.

5. So, the red-collared cat had the blue mouse all along?!

CR: Good question! I have my own thoughts about what happens, but I don’t think one theory is better than another.

From the April 2019 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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