Why did you decide to become an author and when did you write your first book? How long does it take to finish a book? Do you write every year a book? How many books have you written? Do you write first the story or do you start                                                                                      with the illustrations? Is it a dream job to be an author? Is it possible to make a living with this job? Have you ever realized some illustrations on the computer? Which technique do you use for your illustrations? How do you create the effect with the glittery scales? Do you have children? In 1984 I still worked 50% as a Graphic Designer in a publicity agency in Zurich. In addition I was looking for a possibility to express more my talents as an illustrator, since in the agency we worked almost exclusively with text and photography. So by the end of 1984 my first sketches for “The Sleepy Owl” emerged nearly by accident. After finishing text and illustrations for the book, I sent this project to four different Swiss editors. But only the fifth and last one, North-South books in Zurich, agreed to publish my book. Afterwards it took other 18 months before I could see my first printed picture book - an unforgettable moment! Depending of the technique it takes three to four months to finish a book. In between I’m occupied with book-signing tours, visits to book fairs and working on other projects. Normally each spring and fall I present a new book. Of course there are exceptions: It’s possible that in one year there will be published three picture books and another year only one. Usually I create two books a year. Up to now (April 2010) I have created 51 books and for 48 of them I wrote my own stories. I soon realized, that it was a struggle to illustrate stories for other authors and that it was much more fun to develop my own concepts and stories. And the fun and joy to work is still the most important motivation for me: If I wouldn’t enjoy what I’m doing, the books wouldn't have the high quality that is so important to me. This can change from one book to the next. The initial idea for a new project can be as a visual idea for a new character, as a new concept for a story or even just the interest in a new technique. Certainly I have a rough course of action in mind when I start with the first sketches. It can be that I develop a new story based on first sketches with a new character, or that a story changes completely during the process of illustrating. For me this is one of the big advantages of being author and illustrator at the same time. Yes absolutely. I have the best job in the world! My job is it to bring a little bit of joy to children and their parents. What could be better? Even after 20 years I enjoy every morning (even on Mondays) going downstairs in my atelier to work on new projects. But I have to add, that even as a graphic designer I felt very, very good. I would enjoy creating again a logotype or an entire pub- licity concept and sometimes I miss the direct customer contact. I had a very good time working as an independent graphic artist, but I don’t regret becoming an author and illustrator. I was fortunate in that North-South has al- ways look to foreign language editions for the sale of my books and that my books have always worked very well on foreign markets. When the Rainbow Fish became really big-time, I started to focus completely on children's books. Before I worked simultaneously as graphic artist and author-illustrator. Without this international success, it would be impossible for me to make a living with my books. The production of these books is expensive and the Swiss market much too small. No, not yet. Even the first releases of my stories emerge as handwritings on a notepad before I revise them on the computer. But when I watch my second son Miro working on his computer, observing all the possibilities you have today with modern programs such as In-design, Illustrator and so on, it tempts me every now and then to try them out. There was a time I worked nearly exclusively with watercolors. Later I tried to include other techniques like, pastel crayons, acrylics, and different brush technique, such as using a tooth- brush. The passion to check out new techniques led me to the idea to adapt holographic foil stamping, divided pages or ama- zing folding techniques in my books. My newest illustrations for example have been created in a cast-technique. Every part of the illustration becomes a cut out of cardboard before I print it on paper. When I have completed an illustration, I put a transparency over the picture and I mark all the parts with black acrylic color, which is then stamped with the holographic foil. During production, the book becomes printed first as a normal four color book without any foil. The foil becomes stamped only in a second procedure by metallic stamps that have the exact form I drew in acrylic on the transparency at the beginning, on another printing press. Yes, I have four: Sophie (6 years), Nina (18 years), Miro (21 years) and Yannik (22 years). Frequently Asked Questions Back to the top