Being both the writer of fabulous stories and illustrator for their stunning pictures, we chat with Yuval about his books and all about Christmas!
Hi Yuval! Thanks for taking the time to chat and answer some questions for us. Firstly, would you mind telling us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Thank you for having me! I am an author/illustrator of picture books, both fiction and non-fiction. My inspiration is the natural world, including the challenges it now faces. My books are sold worldwide and have so far been translated into 30 languages. As an environmentalist I find it reassuring to know that young readers everywhere, regardless of cultural or geographical backgrounds, respond to my subject matter and care for our planet.
So I’ve read through a few of your books now and it’s incredible that you create both incredible storylines and stunning illustrations! It’s less often you see a writer and illustrator, could you tell us a little about how you got into both?
I see myself as a storyteller primarily as I tend to think both visually and lyrically.
I make picture books, so to me a story really comes alive when both images and words are in harmony. While the story develops I rely a lot on my wonderful editors to help me reach that perfect balance. It’s important for aspiring authors to know that whether you are writing or illustrating a book, this is a collaborative effort as you’ll be working with your publishers’ editor and art director through all stages of creating the book; from the first draft to final cover.
And focussing on the designs now because they are eye-catchingly beautiful, how did you get into drawing, what is your journey to where you are today?
I graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in illustration many years ago. I then worked as a creative director in advertising agencies for a long time until I found my writer’s voice and was ready to turn my hand to more personal work. My love for nature and the environment are now the driving force for my illustrations. They are quite detailed and are based on a lot of research and observation.
A few of your books are Christmas-themed and have wintery wonderfulness, are you a big fan of Christmas, where do you find the wintery inspiration?
I am really just a big kid when it comes to Christmas! I love the idea of ‘festive books’ which are all about the change of seasons and the ancient celebrations of welcoming the New Year. Rather than Santa, elves, chimneys and all the manmade stuff, I think of Christmas as a ‘winter wonderland’ with snowy forests and starry nights.
'The Lights That Dance in the Night' is your latest release, could you tell us a bit about this beautiful book please?
I have always been fascinated by the wonder of the Northern Lights.
The book was made during the pandemic so as well as celebrating the magical beauty of the lights as they travel from space to Earth, there is also a subtle message about a journey from darkness to light and finding hope at the end of this journey.
And finally, what are you getting up to this Christmas?
I won’t be travelling this Christmas but staying at home, so I will no doubt be spending some of the time sketching, researching and working on new stories!
Thank you so much to Yuval for taking the time to help us get all Christmassy! Check out 'The Lights That Dance in the Night' here and grab a copy to make your Christmas extra wonderful. You can also follow Yuval on Twitter here to keep up to date with his work and new releases.