Illustrator and author Eda Akaltun is originally from Istanbul and now resides in New York. After obtaining an MA in Communication Design from Central Saint Martins in 2010, Eda joined the Heart Agency that currently represents her globally. To date, Eda has worked for established organizations including The Washington Post and the New Yorker. She has also taken part in a variety of exhibitions internationally and is a founding contributor to Nobrow Press. Recently, she spoke about her experiences working in the arts and her hopes for the future.

Inspirations  

Blasting News (BN): How did you decide to become an illustrator? 

Eda Akaltun (EA):  I always knew I wanted to go to art school and luckily had my parents' support! During my foundation year at Central Saint Martins in London, we had to take part in different pathways and I enjoyed working with 2D mediums more than 3D and decided to study Graphic Design and became an illustrator.

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I also got my first job and signed a year-long contract with the Telegraph newspaper in England on my last year of college, so that helped setting up as a freelancer and gave me confidence to take on other commissions afterwards.

BN: How many books have you published?

EA: Apart from my commercial work appearing in collective illustration books, this is my first one as both an author and illustrator! It is also my first picture book. 

BN: How did you come up with the ideas for your stories?

EA: I moved to New York with my husband back in 2013 and lived in the West Village. Almost everyone has dogs in NYC but particularly in the area we were in, French Bulldogs were the puppy of choice and I was just drawn to how full of character they are. They really do seem like they have big personalities and they're really funny on top of it so the story started forming from my obsession with these dogs. I wanted to try my hand at working on a picture book so once I decided to write a story about change with a really stubborn character at the heart of it, it took a little over a year to complete.

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I usually work on design or editorial projects so working in children's publishing was definitely a first, but it was a fascinating process. After mapping the story in a series of storyboards with text, I worked closely with my editor Harriet to achieve the right balance in structure and tone, whilst still keeping the message of accepting change central to the plot.

Aspirations 

BN: What has been the most rewarding part of being an author and illustrator? 

EA: It's nice to see my commissioned work in publications I admire, in illustration books shown as examples, on book covers in my favorite bookshops around the world, as prints in people's houses etc. It gives me a sense of purpose and if I may say so, makes me proud to be leaving a trail of images behind me. As for the picture book, it's been such a nice feeling seeing kid’s reading and re-reading the story and reacting to it, doing workshops and readings with kids and generally interacting more for the first time with my 'clients'.

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Working on a book also feels more permanent for me and hopefully when I'm a parent myself, will be a really nice present to give to my kids.

BN: Are there any upcoming projects that you want to mention?

EA: At the moment I'm thinking big and for the long term. I'm interested in creating things that are longer lasting and I have a project in mind for custom made, limited edition objects and furniture. 

BN: What do you hope to be in ten years?

EA: Still an artist but exploring different working methods and also having a team of people to work with.

BN: What advice would you give to aspiring authors and illustrator?

EA:  Be able to adapt. Whether that is to make your projects faster, or more digital or whatever it may be - it will give you advantage over others and being outside of your comfort zone at times always takes the work to a better place in the end. #Interview #Authors & Illustrators #Children's Book