“My Grandfather’s Donkey” (حمارة جدي) is one of my favorite books to read aloud when reading with kids, and the illustrations are so engaging that we just had to contact the artist behind them for a quick chat! Nadine Sidani, a Lebanese illustrator born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, has won several awards for her work. In 2009, she won the Etisalat Award for her illustration of the book “I Love” (أنا احب) from Dar Al Hadaek. She’s also won awards for “Come Play with Me,” “My Friend,” and “What did you Decide, Malek?”
Nadine is a graduate of the Lebanese American University (LAU), and she’s illustrated over 30 children’s books. Check out the interview below:
How did you get started as an illustrator?
Illustration has always been my passion. After graduating from the Lebanese American University, a friend introduced me to a publishing house in Lebanon where I started with collage illustrations that got me noticed. Several publishing houses contacted me because of the style of my work, and that’s how it began.
How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started out?
I discovered my own style of illustration through my paintings, at first. Illustration was something I always loved, ever since I was a child. Creating a unique style was something that came naturally; it was something that came from the heart. My style has improved and developed throughout the years, but it still has the same authenticity.
Do you have a particular routine that you follow when you illustrate?
Of course. When I’m illustrating books I always start by reading the story and trying to live and visualize it with all my senses… colors, smells, sounds, places, characters, countries and traditions. The next step is creating those characters and their surroundings. I then send them to the client in order to make sure that this is what they’re looking for before we finalize the book.
What was your favorite book growing up?
“Le Petit Prince” was my favorite book as it triggers the imagination through deep and simple drawings that include lots of metaphors and lessons. I encourage parents to buy the book for their kids. It’s a classic that will forever capture the readers’ heart.
What projects are you working on at present?
I’m working on many children books right now in Lebanon and the Middle East. I’m also very excited as I’m working on new ideas with established as well as new publishing houses.