KA-CHINK. That was the sound of me turning on my cyber-spotlight to shine it on an international illustrator this morning. (Incidentally, I’d do this way more often if blogging were, say, my full-time job in, uh, Bizarro World. But, hey, one can dream.)
Standing in the glare of said spotlight today is author/illustrator Natalia Colombo, who studied at the Architecture and Graphic Design Faculty of Buenos Aires and whose work has been exhibited throughout Spain. I’m not sure if this is her first picture book, but I don’t believe it is. The book I speak of is called So Close and was published (the English translation, that is) by Tundra Books of Canada in May. It was originally released as Cerca in 2008 by Kalandraka Editoria.
It’s a really simple, spare story of Mr. Duck and Mr. Rabbit. They pass each other daily….
…”on the way to work…and on the way back.”
Yet, they never say hello to one another — whether they’re in haste or sad or happy or on foot or in cars or on bikes. And so on. These scenarios take up 90% of this picture book. The closing is devoted to the notion of what a difference one little word would make: “Hello.” And the very final illustration shows them as big pals, engaged in all kinds of camaraderie. (Coffee, anyone?) That’s about it. Publishers Weekly nails it by calling it a “serious-minded moral tale.”
Natalia’s art caught my eye, though. There’s a naievete to her art that isn’t too precious; even Mr. Duck and Mr. Rabbit are made of the simplest of shapes, something a child might conjure up. The backgrounds—as the aforementioned PW review mentions—are more complicated and texturized. There’s a lot of color, a lot of emotion (despite their avoidance of each other), and a lot of elongated shapes. So, this brief post today is to show you a bit of that art. I don’t know about you, but I’m intrigued enough to keep my eye out henceforth for any forthcoming titles from Natalia.
You can explore more of her art here, including some more spreads from So Close. Enjoy.
SO CLOSE. Text and illustrations copyright © 2008 by Natalia Colombo. English translation copyright © 2010 by Tundra Books, Toronto, Ontario. Images used with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.