a peek at the desk of viviane schwarz

I’ve been meaning to post these for awhile… on my birthday few weeks back, I went around visiting people, and one of my stops was Walker Books, to see what writer and illustrator Viviane Schwarz has been getting up to. And she has a new book! There are Cats in This Book is one of my favourite picture books, and now there’s a sequel! Here on the right you can see the end papers of There are No Cats in This Book. Beautiful! And also a glimpse of the hamster book, A Place To Call Home, created together with Alexis Deacon, and a Dutch version of the first cats book.

Here’s a sneak peek at her comic in progress, The Sleepwalkers. (Honestly, Viv said it was okay to post these!) Here you can see her dummy book and her final artwork (drawn in pencil, then someone at Walker will scan it and she’ll colour it digitally). The story’s amazing, I can’t wait to see this as a completed graphic novel.

The guy at Walker Books who makes all their dummy books made Viv a special one-off large edition of There are Cats in This Book so she could read it in front of larger groups. It’s not the same showing it as a slideshow to children, part of the reason the book’s so great is that you’re actually holding the cats in your arms and playing with them. Viv said she wanted a cat very much as a child, but couldn’t have one. So the book is a way of giving children, not so much a story as their very own cats to play with. Here’s one of my favourite spreads:

Keep an eye on Viv’s blog, you’ll get to see lots more work in progress!

Bizarrely, Viv’s desk sits exactly where I had my very first publishing interview, about ten years ago. The editor and designer were very nice to me and said they’d give me a book if I could come up with a strong story. But I really wasn’t very skilled then, my drawings were very weak, and I’m kind of glad I was able to get some more practice and go to art college before coming out with my first book with David Fickling.

I know I’ve posted this video before, but it’s just so perfect, I have to do it again. (Any plans for a video of There are No Cats in This Book?) I always hear Viv’s voice whenever I read it to myself. (And don’t miss the fab music by performer Matthew Robins. We’re big fans of his shadow puppet shows.)

There are Cats in This Book, YouTube link

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