We had the opportunity to interview the talented children’s book author and illustrator, Isabelle Simler. She has written and illustrated over twenty books for children. Sweet Dreamers, My Wild Cat, Plume, and The Blue Hour (all Eerdmans) were all featured in the Society of Illustrators “The Original Art” annual exhibition. Plume was also named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book.

How did you become a children’s book author and illustrator?

I studied art which led me to illustration. I first worked as an illustrator for advertising and the press, then cartoons, and since 2011 I have devoted myself exclusively to children’s literature.

Have you always loved to write/draw?

Drawing has always had an essential place for me since early childhood. Writing came later, around adolescence. Today, writing and drawing are intimately linked.

What makes you most passionate about this job?

Imagining my books with the greatest freedom.

Illustration by Isabelle Simler from A Perfect Spot

What’s a typical workday like?

When I’m not traveling to meet classes or offer graphic workshops, I am at home, at my table, most of the day, thinking, writing, drawing…

Did you always want to be a children’s book author/illustrator?

I arrived at children’s literature by a few detours, but I know today that this is precisely what I wanted to do.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be open to all the experiences that are available, but never lose sight of what you deeply want.

What is the process of writing and illustrating a book; how does it go from an idea to a finished work on sale in bookstores?

There is no standard process. Each new project is a new adventure. Sometimes the idea comes in the form of images and I start by drawing, other times the words come first and I write. But most of the time, words and drawings intertwine. In any case, it is a long journey until the book takes shape.

When you are not drawing, what do you do to relax?

I read, I walk, I drink coffee in the sun.

Illustration by Isabelle Simler from A Perfect Spot

What inspire you to write A Perfect Spot?

The context of this book was a bit special because I drew it during the confinement due to COVID. I couldn’t walk more than a mile from my house. So I decided to go to the countryside by drawing this book, which is a long walk in nature.

I also wanted to honor the insects that we often consider negatively even though they play an essential role on the planet.

Can you tell us one thing people may not know about you?

I have never been very good at languages, ​​and it gives me great pleasure to see my books translated.

A Perfect Spot

Written & Illustrated by Isabelle Simler
Translated by Vineet Lal

A ladybug needs a safe place to lay her eggs, but where can she find an open spot? Katydids flutter in the leaves, stick insects hide in the branches, and thorn bugs pop out from every available stem. Even those bright pink flowers are orchid mantises ready to strike! Will any of these creatures be the right neighbors for the ladybug’s eggs? 

Illustrated with lush, vibrant details, A Perfect Spot is a fascinating introduction to the diverse world of arthropods. Acclaimed creator Isabelle Simler presents a bug’s eye view of camouflage, metamorphosis, and other natural wonders.

Image credit: Jiaojiao Zhao