I have taken a short break from the blogging world while getting MARRIED! Yay! But I'm back (there's nothing like a deadline to get you back on track!).
I am so excited to be the first stop on Macmillan's Fairy Tale Comics Blog Tour! To kick off the fun I've had the honor of interviewing Brett Helquist, who has put pen to paper for his own adaptation of Rumpelstiltskin.
Interview with Brett Helquist:
Good Day Mr. Helquist!
Nicole: It is beyond exciting for me to have the opportunity to interview one of my absolute favorite illustrators in children’s literature, in celebration of the release of Fairy Tale Comics. You are without a doubt one of the most recognizable artists in children’s literature. Hold up a cover with your artwork on it and BAM, we know who’s behind it. I must admit, when it comes to judging a book by its cover, I do if you’re the artist. A book is immediately appealing to me if you’ve done the cover art (and/or interior art). But it makes me wonder…with such a broad range of genres you’ve illustrated, are some types of stories more appealing to you than others when it comes to accepting a job?
Brett: Not really, I enjoy reading many different kinds of stories. I think I’m drawn mostly to the characters. If a book has strong and interesting characters I find it easy to illustrate.
Nicole: And speaking of a broad range of genres, I’m still not sure how I feel about you illustrating the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series. Here are my two battling emotions:
#1: The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series was one of my all time favorite series as a kid. So when I see Brett Helquist has illustrated the series I initially get very excited (seeing as I think you’re awesome). And even though I own the whole series for my classroom library, I of course want to buy a new set to get your illustrated versions. So, I guess I feel great about you illustrating the series.
#2: The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series are some of the all time scariest books I have ever read, because of the original illustrations. Those pictures still give me the heebie jeebies. I used to read those scary stories with one hand covering the illustrations of some of those stories, they creeped me out that bad. Your style is not as gruesome and UGH as some of those illustrations. So, I guess I feel like you robbed some kids of being totally and utterly grossed out!
So, what were your reactions to being asked to re-illustrate the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series?
Brett: This is a difficult question for me. I enjoyed this job and I was happy with what I did, but I know I upset some people. I’m not sure what to think.
Is there a series or a classic story that you ﬁnd intriguing and wish to get your hands on to illustrate? (I love what you did to A Christmas Carol)
Brett: would love to do all of Robert Louis Stevenson’s books.
Nicole: You do a lot of cover art and interior art for novels, which involves a lot of reading and rereading (thank you for taking the time to get it right, the details do matter). Do you see yourself continuing on balancing this type of work with your own picture books, or are you going to steer in one direction or the other? (I suggest you continue doing both!)
Brett: I love doing both.
Nicole: When you were approached to contribute to Fairy Tale Comics were you able to pick your own fairy tale, and if so, what drew you to Rumpelstiltskin?
Brett: The publisher gave me a list of tales to choose from. Rumpelstiltskin seemed like a caharacter that I could have fun with. I seem to have a knack for grumpy old man characters, like Olaf, Scrooge, and Rumpelstiltskin. This was really my ﬁrst chance at doing a comic. I’ve used comic elements in some of my books, like “Bedtime for Bear”, but never a full comic. I was very nervous about doing it. That might be why I chose Rumpelstiltskin. He’s a type of character I’m very comfortable with.
Nicole: Why are fairy tales so enduring, and why do you think they should continue to be told and retold to our youth?
Brett: That’s hard to say. Maybe they’re like great songs, they just stick in your head. Who knows why?
Nicole: When will you be stopping by Maine to sign our copies of Fairy Tale Comics?
Brett: I’m just waiting for an invitation.
This book is amazing fun, and I highly recommend it for classroom library collections!
Thanks for visiting!
Praise for Fairy Tale Comics
"A quirky and vibrant mix of visually reinterpreted fairy tales compiled by the editor of the Eisner-nominated Nursery Rhyme Comics (2011)." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Nineteen cartoonists re-envision the world of “once upon a time” in this collection of 17 fairy tales . . .These adaptations are sure to enchant devotees of comics and those who like a fresh and distinctive approach to fairy tales." --School Library Journal ***Taken from Macmillan.com