Sunshine Smile Publications is delighted to showcase the very talented Dubravka Kolanovic!
Dubravka Kolanovic is a children's book illustrator and author with many beautiful books to her name. She studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design, USA and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, Croatia where she obtained an art degree. Since then she has devoted herself to children's book illustration.
Dubravka lives on coast of Croatia with her family, where they often walk along the sea and enjoy the natural beauty of their surroundings. Dubravka volunteers with Earthwatch, and has helped scientific researchers in the Amazon rainforest, the Australian Great Barrier Reef, the African Savannah and the Galapagos islands. It's a precious experience that has taught her the importance of protecting the environment for future generations.
Dubravka says, "I feel very privileged by being able to make my living as a children's book illustrator. It is a wonderful, creative job that gives me the opportunity to escape to a new, happy and colourful world every day."
Her clients include Bloomsbury Children's Books, Random House, Ladybird Books and Gullane Children's books among others. It is a privilege to showcase her fabulous work! Enjoy!
Q & A with Dubravka Kolanovic, Author Illustrator
What are you working on at the moment?
While working on commissioned projects, I simultaneously try to develop some of my own ideas. At the moment I am working on a project with Lion Children's Books. We have a very nice and long-term relationship and it has always been a real joy to work on their beautiful texts. I am also working on a lovely baby book project for Blue Rabbit Publishing in Korea.
Recently I have finished a picture book titled Polar Bear Boy for Gullane Children's Books, written with Gillian Shields' poetic and inspiring text.
It has been great honour for me to work with UNICEF for years and I worked on their new Christmas card collection this year. Every project is challenge on its own which offers me a new direction.
Is there anything you're busy promoting?
I have a few books published that I have written my own text for. All of my ideas come from real life inspirations. As a big nature lover, one of my favourites is about a small elephant, Njogu (Grandir, France) who teaches his big, old family new things.
In Everyone Needs a Friend (Price Stern Sloan, USA), Jack the wolf teaches everyone to have more understanding and patience in friendships and relationships, and to accept all the good and bad that comes with each of us. It became popular with my friends when it comes to tolerating their spouses!
Light (Kodansha, Japan) is a praise to the importance of friendship and people we meet throughout life that really light up our existence.
Albert the Artist (Tony Potter Publishing) is about a little dog, kind of like the one who hangs out around the Academy of Fine Art where I have studied. Albert desperately wanted to become a painter, and thanks to his hard work and persistence, he overcomes all the prejudices and obstacles to become the first dog ever to get a Fine Art degree.
Are there illustrators whose work you particularly enjoy?
There are many wonderul illustrators and artists whose work I adore. I love Yuri Norstein, Angela Muss, Laura Cornell, Shomei Yoh,Taro Gomi, Stefan Zavrel, Josef Wilkon, John Burmingham, Ian Falconer, Marc Boutavant, Selina Young, Tony Ross, Ludwig Bemelmans, Georg Hallensleben... the list is endless.
Do you have a piece of advice for beginning authors or illustrators?
I was very lucky to get the chance to publish my first picture book at the age of 18 after I won a writing and illustration competition sponsored by Landmark Editions in the USA. Thanks to David Melton, who was an editor at Landmark Editions back then, because of everything he did for me I have made illustration my career. He was the one who taught me how to be patient, persistent, to believe in what I do and to be hard working.
I believe that to become a good artist you need to have something you want to share with other people, ideas and feelings that you need to know how to express. The technique is something that you could learn and obtain with hard work, the rest speaks about your inner world.
Nowadays, children are burdened with so many different forms of information and it is a challange to try to pass onto them messages about the importance of love, respect for other people, respect for nature, and sharing - the simple things that acutally make life beautiful. Maybe that is the task that we children's book illustrators could help with a little bit.