Masha D’yans’ watercolors and illustrations have graced many a greeting card. When I first started my business I knew little about stationery. But wherever I went, I could always recognize Masha’s work and the whimsical style in which she could wield her brush. She has since branched out to include products, tees and now a new children’s pop up book called Razzle Dazzle Ruby. What a perfect interactive display for her talents! Read on for a little QA with Masha:
Tell us about your leap into Children’s books…what are the unique differences, challenges of illustrating a children’s book vs. a greeting card or textile?
Cards are like mini-posters – they quickly convey one concept. Books are much different. The element of time and storytelling adds a further dimension. On the technical side, you have to create environments, continuity & varied views, positions and emotions of the characters, which requires a different skill set than cards or surface design. In the best children’s books the images complement and play with the text, not just reiterate what’s written. I love that the book-form allows you to layer information and detail and to tell rich stories through the combination of words, images and design while (ideally) still keeping it simple and playful. It’s a dream creative challenge.
What was a day in your life like when you were working on Razzle-Dazzle Ruby?
Wake up. Check email. Make tea. Paint all day in my pajamas.
Where did you find inspiration for Razzle-Dazzle Ruby and did you balance this with other projects?
I grew up in Russia and as a child I was surrounded by picture books. I think it was this, along with my magnificently talented mother, which led me to become an artist. Much of my childhood was spent playing in the snow, sharing funny stories, and making things out of found objects. It was what I knew best. What I do now is just an extension of my childhood; the same kind of scrappy curiosity operates in my work today. In this sense, Ruby’s story, and the very physical form that the book took, is highly autobiographical and close to my heart. It was often tough to switch gears from being absorbed in paper engineering experiments, writing and painting Ruby but I’m used to juggling several projects at once.
About the author: Masha D’yans is an award-winning artist. Her line of greeting cards, clothing, and home décor, featuring her alluring artwork, are sold at Target, Macy’s, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, as well as other major retailers and smaller specialty shops. Originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, and classically trained at the St. Petersburg Academy of Art Lyceum and subsequently at Cooper Union in New York City, she now lives and works in Manhattan. Razzle-Dazzle Ruby is her first book. Vist her at www.masha.com .