Whenever I have the opportunity to speak about the creative process—whether to children or adults—I usually offer up two pieces of advice:
1. Be a collector
2. Be an experimenter
I love Violet and Victor because they embody these directions. They collect and experiment with various forms of inspiration until they build a story that they both love. And from a personal standpoint, the illustrations I made for these books are some of the clearest examples of following my own advice (which, sadly, is not always a given).
I’ve spoken quite a bit about the first Violet and Victor book (Violet and Victor Write the Best-Ever Bookworm Book) in the past. More on that here—the link includes a video about my process including examples of the ephemera I collected and the many ways I experimented with the raw materials I had at hand. And, to learn more about the creator of Violet and Victor, you can read an interview with the author, Alice Kuipers, here.
The process for the second book also involved collecting and experimenting. And even though some of the style was determined by the first book, the second story required a new collection and new experiments! So, while Violet and Victor look the same (graphite pencil lines with collage clothing), their environment is very different.
This is a story that merges traditional fairy tales and Australian animals. I collected inspiration from a variety of sources—19th century fairy tale books (ink drawings), 19th century cookbooks, antique maps, and Aboriginal art. I experimented with these raw materials, building three dimensional art out of books and creating all kinds of dot-based paintings. I also thought about Violet and Victor’s setting; I imagined them outdoors as they were concocting this story. I envisioned them collecting and experimenting with leaves and twigs and various other inspirations from their natural world. Below are examples of MY raw materials and experiments.
And below are a few finished spreads from the book. The Publisher's Weekly review said, “Murguia creates extravagant visual representations of the possibilities that await readers (and writers) of stories...Entertaining, and likely to inspire readers to try putting their own stories together.” I’m thrilled that Violet and Victor Write the Most Fabulous Fairy Tale is a Winter 2015/2016 Kids’ Indie Next List Pick. Thank you Indie bookstores for your support!