Sophie Blackall Illustration

Drawings and Snippets and Breaking News, (but more snippets than breaking news).

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Making of The Mighty Lalouche


I am thrilled to announce The Mighty Lalouche is finally here!
The author, Matthew Olshan and I first met competing for a cool spot at BEA in 2007, the year the air conditioning failed. We began a rambling conversation, during which I mentioned that I was an avid fan of vintage boxing photographs. Matthew, who shares an interest in early photography, went looking for portraits of turn-of-the-20th-century pugilists. What he found—proud, diminutive boxers in high-waisted shorts and booties, complete with astonishing mustaches—became the inspiration for The Mighty Lalouche, in which a tiny French postman turns out to be an invincible fighter. (It’s very nice to mention an interest on a whim and have a perfect story on the subject delivered to your inbox.)






I had to wait a few years before I could begin work and it soon became clear it would be absolutely, completely impossible to do this book without actually visiting the City of Light. (Really, any excuse to visit Paris. . . .) There I wandered the streets and talked to finch enthusiasts and postmen and took a billion photographs.



Back in the studio, I fell headlong into research. But when it came to making the first sketches, I found the images to be frustratingly two dimensional. I wanted to feel you could step into Lalouche’s world. I also wanted to try something I’d never done before, and with a perverse desire to complicate things, I decided to make the book in tatebanko, Japanese paper dioramas. I drew, painted, and cut out thousands of tiny pieces of paper to make Parisian streets and boxing-ring crowds and Lalouche’s cozy apartment. Often I sneezed and lost a bunch and had to start all over again.



Once the pieces were assembled into scenes, I enlisted the help of filmmaker Alex Rappoport to light and photograph the dioramas.

Most pictures books take me around four months to complete; The Mighty Lalouche took nearly two years. I became very fond of our small, steadfast, modest hero. He may be a boxing champion, but in his heart of hearts, he is still a postman. I like to imagine he is timeless and ageless, that even now he diligently walks the streets of Paris delivering brown paper packages tied up with string.



19 comments:

Mai Kemble said...

the work you did for this book is just exquisite... I will have to get a copy!
love that you took the time to make it something amazing and different... I'm sure that it will pay off... :)
simply amazing... :)

Selina Alko said...

Such a delight to see your work in 3-D, Sophie. Simply gorgeous!

Adriana Gallo said...

Lovely! I can imagine you and Lalouche must be extremely well acquainted at this point. What gem :)

Tammie Lee said...

you are so very clever, this looks wonderful!

Beth HF said...

I love your work! And I agree, a trip to Paris was in order:)

Rob Dunlavey said...

I can't wait to see your new book in person! Looks marvelous,

Hastypearl said...

You must be so proud of this work. It's kind of out of body, isn't it, when you look back on something you've made and thingk...did I really do THAT?! Good for you!
So glad you shared the whole process...Laura

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Anonymous said...

Absolutely fantastic work - J Pearson Sharp

Christina Van Peteghem said...

This is wonderful! C'est tout simplement merveilleux! Bravo, I love your illustrations! Best regards from Christina, Brussels, Belgium

Christina Van Peteghem said...

This is wonderful! C'est tout simplement merveilleux! Bravo, I love your illustrations! Best regards from Christina, Brussels, Belgium

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Laura Anne said...

Amazing illustrations!!! Most unique. I plan to study this style as I have never heard of it before. Came over to visit from a review of the book at http://kirsten-w-larson.com/2014/02/28/ppbf-the-mighty-lalouche/
So glad I visited.

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Anonymous said...

I Like the book because i like the drawings.

Background removal services said...

Really you did a great job. Great inspiration. photos

Gaun Pengantin Muslim Terindah 2015 said...

Such a delight to see your work in 3-D, Sophie. Simply gorgeous!