專訪|Coralie Bickford-Smith的《小狐狸與星星》


小狐狸與星星》這本書從故事、插畫、封面設計、裝幀到印刷紙質,都美麗精緻地讓我愛不釋手。作者柯洛莉.畢克佛史密斯 Coralie Bickford-Smith 在英國企鵝出版社擔任封面設計師,她設計的書封曾榮獲美國平面藝術學會(American Institute of Graphic Arts)和英國DAD(Design Advertising)獎項,《小狐狸與星星》是她第一本個人作品,她一手包辦了故事、插畫和印刷裝幀設計。這本書也獲得英國Waterstones書店年度最佳圖書大獎。




Please tell the readers of “Illustration Today” a bit about yourself.

By day I am employed by Penguin Books to design book covers and by night I illustrate and explore my own projects. I am stuck in the past and much of my work harks back to the world of Victorian bindings and a golden age of book binding. Recently Penguin published my first book, The Fox and the Star, it is a fable for all ages about love and loss. When Fox’s greatest friend disappears, his search for Star takes him on a journey of grief, before he finds his way is lit with hope. I live in a quiet part of London where there are lots of trees so I can escape the city and be around nature. I also eat a lot of macaroni cheese. If I could, I would live in the forest that Fox lives in and it would be near the sea.




You’ve mentioned on your website that the story of “The Fox and the Star” is inspired by your own life experiences. Could you share what they are and how you come up with the story?

The story was inspired by my own experience of loss. I could not help but draw on my own experiences. I integrate my life into everything I create, otherwise it feels meaningless. I, like everyone, have gone through some really tough times. Sometimes I wanted to make life easier for Fox but this wouldn’t have been an honest depiction. I felt it crucial to portray the essence of my own story – one of personal loss – in order to help the book resonate with others. The star represents my mother who I lost at an early age and reminds me of the strongest message I learned when learning to live without her. That she still lives within me and that is what Fox internalizes at the end of the book when he is filled with stars.





When you created this book, what came first, the design concept, the illustrations, or the texts? Could you walk us through your process?

Every element felt equally tough, both the illustration and text had to be the best it could be. I had never undertaken such a project before so the learning curve was a big one. I think I take things very seriously and every element had to be loved and cherished so that it was the best it could be. For a illustrated book to work well I feel that I can not just illustrate what the text says literally. It has to be a fine balance where the illustration enhances or plays with the text and vice versa. This was an important learning curve when making the book. I learned so much about how to tell a good story. A good story for me is one that has a wisdom that might not be apparent at the first glance. A good story leaves a person to think and ask their own questions and find their own truth. My goal was not to write and illustrate an action adventure but to distil an important life lesson into the pages that is relevant to many areas of people's lives.







The design of this book is exquisite. The orange thread even matches the color of the fox! How was it like to design your own book v.s for other authors?

I love the orange thread too. I did not stop asking for that particular shade of thread and I confess that I did drive my editors a bit mad. But it did get forgotten when the proof was made so I was right to keep mentioning that I wanted it. Small details are really important to me.

When I design a book cover for another authors' words, my job is to communicate what they are saying with type and image, create a visual hook that makes people want to pick up the book and explore the world of the author. When I worked on my own book I used my day job knowledge to create a wonderful cover for it but I had many lessons to learn about how to create the insides. My day job only took me so far and I found a different sort of pleasure in the work I had to do to write the story and I was left to my own devices. I had only the rules I made myself, I was free to do anything and it was very daunting. When I went back to my day job it was comforting to be bound again by a brief, another person's words and rules. But I am now creating another book of my own which again is a new journey into the unknown.







From your design work, I can tell that you love typography and pattern(me, too!). You also have a really distinctive design style. What does inspire you? Who is/are your creative hero(s)?

I was given a William Blake quote, Eternity at a pivotal moment and it inspired me to change the direction my life was taking. This enabled me to take risks – namely becoming a designer, which was the best decision I could have made. I had to accept life’s constant changes in order to gain the necessary courage to move forward. So I wanted to write a story that embodied the idea contained in this poem.

Visually I am also very inspired by William Blake and Audrey Beardsley. I tend to look back in time for inspiration. I was also heavily inspired by William Morris. His use of colour and pattern is stunning.


威廉.布雷克的詩《Eternity at a pivotal moment》激勵了我,讓我冒險選擇了不一樣的人生──成為一位設計師,這也是我所做過最棒的決定。這個決定讓我必須接受生活中接踵而來的轉變,累積勇氣向前邁進。所以,我想要將這首詩融入在我的故事裡。在視覺設計上,我受到威廉.布雷克和奧伯利.比亞茲萊的啟發,我常會不時回頭從他們的作品中找尋靈感。另外,威廉.莫里斯作品中迷人的配色和花紋,也刺激了我的靈感。




Do you have any favorite book designs, other than your own work? What are they?

I love the work of Jon Klassen. His children’s books about hats are hilarious. I am eagerly waiting for his third and final hat book, We Found A Hat. Klassen’s work seems so simple but yet it is rich in emotions. I know from my own experiences of illustrating that the seemingly simple pieces of work I produce are often the most complex and exhausting to create.

I also admire the work of William Blake, I like the fact that he wrote, illustrated, printed and bound his own books as I do love all things to do with the printing process and the creation of books. William Blake had a lot of wisdom and through studying his work he has taught me to follow my dreams, create what I want to create rather than what I think other people want me to create.


我很喜歡雍.卡拉森 (Jon Klassen)的作品,他的「帽子系列」兒童繪本非常幽默!我非常期待他的下一本《We Found A Hat》,這也是這個系列的最後一本作品。雍.卡拉森的《We Found A Hat》故事看似有些單調,卻包含了非常豐富的情緒。我也從自己一次次的創作經驗中了解到,看起來簡單的作品,其創作過程往往更複雜且辛苦。

我也很崇拜威廉‧布雷克(William Blake)的作品。我喜歡他自己寫、自己畫,自己印刷並且裝訂,就像我投入創作、印製到裝訂成書的整個過程,我享受其中。威廉‧布雷克讓我了解到,我必須追隨自己的夢想,去設計我想要的作品,而不是別人要求我去做的設計。


For emerging designers/illustrators who would love to design books or create their own books one day, what are the advice you’d like to give them?

Work hard and follow your dreams. Expect set backs, when they happen dust your self off and take away the positives from the situation. There is always good stuff to be found in a seemingly bad situation if you reflect on it. Do not be scared to fail. I have a favorite mug with Bart Simpson on it, he says: ‘underachiever and proud of it’, it reminds me daily to allow myself creative freedom and that failure is just a part of the process of not only creating things, but finding your true path in life.



我有一個很喜歡的馬克杯,杯面上印有霸子‧辛普森和他說的一句話:「Underachiever, and proud of it!(我是績優劣等生,而且我很自豪)」這句話每天都在提醒讓我要自由地創作,失敗只不過是創作過程和人生中的一小部分罷了。