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Ehsan Abdollahi shares a beautiful illustration to celebrate Libraries Week!

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Ehsan experimenting with different materials for his art

To celebrate Libraries Week, the YLG Committee have been talking to the brilliant illustrator Ehsan Abdollahi! He has illustrated four wonderful books for Tiny Owl, including The Secret of the Tattered Shoes and When I Coloured in the World. As part of the interview, Ehsan even featured a wonderful library inspired illustration which really captures the magic of reading! Read his interview below.


As part of Libraries Week, we have an illustration focus.  We’ll be talking with a number of illustrators about their thoughts and views about libraries and many have created special library doodles for us to share!  We are thrilled to welcome Ehsan Abdollahi.  Ehsan is an art teacher, illustrator and animator.  He has illustrated several books including Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me and A Bottle of Happiness.  

Please can you introduce yourself and your work?

I’m a lecturer of illustration at Tehran University of Arts and an illustrator.  Most of my illustrations are for children.

I always like to experiment with different techniques in illustrating my books, such as collage, watercolor, acrylic, etc.  In the last book I published in the UK The Secret of the Tattered Shoes (Tiny Owl), I used a combination of paper dolls and collages.

Ehsan captures the magic of reading in this illustration

This year’s Libraries Week is themed around books and reading, can you tell us about some of the books you enjoyed as a child?

When I was a child, I was very interested in The Little Mermaid storybook.  My father always read this book to me or I listened to his story tape and looked at the pictures in the book.  The mysterious spaces under the sea have always fascinated me.  Although the  characters had fish-like tails, they were amazing and magical to me.
Sometimes I thought that maybe one day I would have a tail like a mermaid.

What do you feel is important about libraries?

In my opinion, the most important thing about library spaces is their soothing atmosphere. This is where people, children, and grown-ups can find peace. They are also points of knowledge and nothing can replace them. A dreamy library for me is one with sunlight, green plants, beechwood, and white walls.

Can you share details of one of your favourite libraries please?

The most beautiful library for me is still the library in my nursery school. This library was not large, only a few blue shelves with a number of children’s books. But it is still the most beautiful library for me.

What are you working on next?

Currently, I’m working on a book about the lockdown. This book is an experience of group work, in which various illustrators contribute their experiences during the lockdown in the form of an illustration. Hopefully, this book will be published by Tiny Owl in March 2021.

The latest book published by me was a unique experience collaborating with Jackie Morris, The Secret of the Tattered Shoes, (Tiny Owl).

I’m going to write a story about mermaids. This is a good opportunity for me to illustrate my own story.

A huge thank you to Ehsan for sharing his thoughts and creating such a special library inspired doodle!

  • When I Coloured in the World recommended as a top book during lockdown – The Guardian
  • Watch this creative video by illustrator Ehan Abdollahi: Make Thinker the Puppy for yourself
  • Ehsan Abdollahi named as ‘illustrator in residence’ at Edinburgh Book Festival 2018

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Posted in News & Reviews