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Illustrating and writing

26 September 2016

‘I could never imagine being a writer. I come from a generation for whom writers were either very old or dead. We could not imagine that we could have that magical profession. But I could imagine illustrating because I had drawn since I was a child. When I started illustrating, I found the stories I had to work with so boring that I started writing in order to do the illustrations I wanted to do! It took another few years before I realised I loved the writing - and that I may even be better at the writing than the illustrating...

The funny thing is - and I always tell young illustrators to be careful of this - I ended up thinking that as an illustrator I was mediocre but as a writer I could go a little further. So I almost abandoned illustration. I did black and white illustrations for my own books - my big books - but in between I did not really draw. Then two years ago, I suddenly had a longing to sketch again...

With the fifth museum exhibit in Germany of all my art, it makes me realise that maybe I told myself the wrong thing about myself and actually the illustration may be as important as the writing. I think we underestimate illustration so often. We value the words against the pencil and it's not right. The visuals can be so powerful and so often they interpret or show something that we cannot catch with words.'

Cornelia Funke, author of the Mirrorworld and Reckless series in Bookbrunch