Sarah Davis is the talented illustrator who along with author Juliette MacIver created the Children's choice award book finalist Marmaduke Duck and The Wild Blue Seas. The Booksellers NZ reviewer, Angela Oliver said,
‘This is a story of courage and friendship, of the power of jam and home comforts over the allure of gold. I hope to see more of this loveable, unlikely duo, now that they’ve both had a taste of adventure, let’s hope it leads to more!’
We asked Sarah about how she creates her captivating illustrations
When you've spent a while illustrating the same character over a few books, you get to know them pretty well, like an old friend. It's easy for me to imagine Marmaduke in action now, which makes it easier to draw him. When I did the first Marmaduke pictures, I hadn't illustrated many picture books or even really done much drawing, so it felt a little stiff and awkward to begin with, but now he kind of leaps off the pencil and takes on a life of his own. To start with I looked at lots of photos or ducks, and practiced drawing realistic ducks, then I put all of that away and let Marmaduke take shape in my imagination.
2. You and Juliette have worked on a lot of books together now, do you work differently when you are working with Juliette thanks to this bond?
Yes! Juliette and I are really good friends now, and she's fantastic. I'm totally in awe of what she can do with rhyme and rhythm and words. We both have the same kind of weird humour, so I think we make a good team. I chat about the stories with Juliette far more than I do with any other author - usually I just get the text and go to town on it, and don't have a lot of direct contact with the author, and there's something that needs to be worked out, we communicate through the publishers. But Juliette and I will often chat about the story. Usually it's me complaining that she puts too many animals in her books! I mean... "52 marmosets leaped on board"?!? Seriously!!? Do you know how long it takes to draw 52 marmosets? Much longer than in takes to write the words "52 marmosets", that's for sure. I suggested a text change for this one. I said, "Instead of '52 marmosets leaped on board', how about we change it to '1000 marmosets, 999 of whom had awesome Cloaks of Invisibility leaped on board'!" But for some reason, they didn't go for it. Then Juliette wrote a book especially to annoy me. It's called "One Goose", and it went something like this:
Thirty-two Racoons... etc etc, all the way up to a billion billion amoebas. And she said I had a week to illustrate it. She's so mean.
3. How did you tailor the illustration for this book to the age-group it reaches?
I actually don't consciously tailor the pictures for any particular age group. I just try to stay true to the mood and feeling of the story, and to draw pictures that make ME laugh. If I'm sitting at my drawing table sniggering and chortling at a particular funny scene of character that I'm drawing, I know I'm heading in the right direction. Maybe I'm just a big kid still.
4. Who have you dedicated this book to, and why?
I dedicated it to my daughter Nikau (AKA my Monkey Pirate Fashion consultant) who came up with the idea for the skull and crossbones on Captain Fang's hat, and my daughter Zoe, who is one of the marmosets in the book. She's the little crazy blonde one with the eye patch - see if you can spot her!
5. What do you find yourself drawing most frequently when you aren’t working?
Usually strange, dreammlike pictures of weird creatures.
6. Can you recommend any books for children who love this book?
Anything by Juliette, of course! Also anything by Bill Peet - I loved his books when I was a kid. If you like hilarious rhyming stories with great characters, look no further.
For reviews of Marmaduke Duck and the Wide Blue Sea, check out the Booksellers NZ review here: https://booksellersnz.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/book-review-marmaduke-duck-on-the-wide-blue-seas-by-juliette-mciver-and-sarah-davis/
To Win a copy of Marmaduke Duck on the Wild Blue Seas, just comment below with the name of your favourite NZ picture book
Competition available to NZ and AUS residents only, competition drawn 25th July 2015.