An interview with Hoda Haddadi
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Hoda Haddadi is the illustrator of our new release The New Baby and Me. She lives and works in Tehran, Iran, and has illustrated one other book for Tiny Owl: A Rainbow in My Pocket. We interviewed her about The New Baby and Me.
What was the message of The New Baby and Me for you?
The most important message is accepting people’s differences and respecting their personalities. Most of the time we like others to be like us, think in the way we think and do what we want them to do. We like to see people in our type but naturally people are different; they are their own people, and this is why the world is colourful and beautiful.
You use a very unique, and beautiful, illustration style in The New Baby and Me. Can you tell us more about it?
I stopped on this book for a long time. It was a big challenge for me. Twice I tore the images and drew them again. I tried to find a way to show the dreams and real life in an interconnected spread. As usual the technique is collage. Silk papers were chosen because of their transparency and the quality of the colour’s interaction they create.
How did you bring the five brothers to life before starting your illustrations for the book?
First, I made a sketchy image of the story and the description of the characters in my mind. They must be similar because they are brothers, but each live in a very different world. So, when you first look at them they are all in the same form but each of the details are unique. I myself have no brothers, and when I was a child my friends were mostly girls. In Iran there are separate schools for boys and girls. I also had two girl nieces and our house was very girlish. If you look at my art work you see I never illustrate manly character; most of my characters are girls or women. I am far from a manly world. I have no children, but I think if I had a son how would I treat him? When I read the manuscript my first thought was that I was in an alien world. But after a while I fell in love with those boys. They are like me, full of dreams and wishes. Full of childish concerns and eagerness. So, I started to draw them one by one. There is not much of a difference between girls and boys.
What inspires you?
The painter brother inspired me. I like to think that he is the main narrator of the story as if you are a painter or an artist you are the narrator of all stories. So, I tried to connect with him first and see the world from his point of view.
Can you tell us what the future holds for you?
I am working on two books. One is about immigration, and the second is a lovely poem about spring by Nima, the father of modern poetry for Iran. I love both books; however, they have very different atmospheres and, working on them means I must switch my mind from a sad story to happy story very quickly. But the essence of both is humanity.
- Read this lovely review of The New Baby and Me by Parents in Touch
- Check out the author of this book, Christine’s, response to our wordless picture books campaign
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