David Melling – Fragen und Antworten

David Melling – Fragen und Antworten

David Melling – Fragen und Antworten

Wer mich kennt, weiß über meine Liebe zu Großbritannien. Und über meine ebenso große Liebe zu wunderschön illustrierten Bilderbüchern. Nun ist David Melling ja Brite und obendrein ein begnadeter Illustrator, falls euch das bisher entgangen sein sollte, da liegt die Vermutung also nahe, dass mir sein Werk in den letzten Jahren irgendwie ans Herz gewachsen sein könnte. Und genau das ist tatsächlich der Fall.

Nicht nur ziert seine Bilderbuch-Figur „Hugless Douglas“ (zu Deutsch „Paulchen“) eine Kinderzimmerwand meines Prinzen, auch finden sich im Regal daneben alle Paulchen-Bücher schön nach Erscheinungsdatum aufgereiht. Manche habe ich doppelt (englische und deutsche Ausgabe), manche sogar mit Signatur des Meisters (die ist zwar dann für den Prinzen, aber das verraten wir nicht weiter, okay …??). In unmittelbarer Nachbarschaft kuscheln sich Der kleine Eisprinz, Die Wilden Strolche, D is for Duck, Goblins und viele andere eng zusammen.

Aber heute geht es um Paulchen, denn Paulchen feiert nun endlich Weihnachten.

Frohe Weihnachten, Paulchen!

Paulchen hat schon allerlei Abenteuer erlebt. Ob er nun jemanden zum Knuffeln sucht, eine Übernachtungsparty bei seinem Freund Hase plant, bäckt, Geburtstag feiert oder etwas angestellt hat (hier findet ihr eine Kurzbiografie sowie alle aktuell lieferbaren Titel von Mr Melling), stets begleiten ihn seine besten Freunde auf der Reise. Mit an Bord sind also immer oben bereits erwähnter Hase und eine Herde Schafe. Allein wegen dieser Bande kleiner Wollknäuel lohnt es sich ja meiner Meinung nach schon, die Bücher anzuschauen, aber lassen wir das …

Jedenfalls feiert Paulchen im neuesten Abenteuer Weihnachten, und ich habe das und meinen noch gar nicht allzu weit zurückliegenden Besuch in London genutzt, um David ein paar Fragen über den kleinen Bären zu stellen. Außerdem war ich neugierig darauf zu erfahren, wie er arbeitet, was ihn inspiriert und an den Rand seiner Möglichkeiten bringt.
Vielleicht habt ihr Lust, ein wenig in die Welt des David Melling einzutauchen? Für Autoren und Illustratoren finden sich einige hilfreiche Tipps im Text … nur mal so.

David Melling –
Questions and answers (I)

Das Interview habe ich in englischer Sprache geführt, und ich hoffe, die meisten von euch kommen damit zurecht. Bei Unklarheiten meldet euch gern, dann helfe ich mit Übersetzungen oder sonstigem nach.

Los geht’s!

  • A few years ago Hugless Douglas’ first adventure was published. Do you still have ideas left for him?
    The first book was published in March 2010, so in publishing terms he’s only 7 years old! I have just finished the 9 th story in the series and yes, there are plans for more titles. Sometimes I worry that I might be doing too many but the sales figures continue to be healthy so that’s a good reason the keep going! However, now thank the character is well established it makes sense to slow down the output a little, let things settle, and for me to explore new ideas. I’m very lucky and extremely grateful to be in this position. 
  • Last year you told us Douglas is becoming a TV star. Do you have any further news about that?
    Things are still ticking along. It’s been almost 3 years since this was announced. There is certainly a lot of activity behind the scenes but, much like publishing, the TV business can be slow so I have to be patient. I try not to think about it too much and just hope one day I’ll get a phone call to say it has ‘green light.’ If that happens I’ll let you know!
  • Douglas has been translated in many languages by now. How many exactly?
    Again, I’m so lucky and flattered that Douglas has been such a worldwide success. To date, he is translated in 28 languages, with sales across all titles of over 1.6 million. Amazing!
  • You are publishing own books and illustrating books written by others as well (for example the “Knight in Training” series by Vivian French). Is it difficult for you to draw characters created by someone else?
    Actually, I am just starting to work on a new project with a writer I haven’t worked with before. It’s at a very early stage so I can’t say too much about it yet, but it’s very exciting. It’s a balance to know when is the right time to announce things like this on social media, soon I hope.

Soviel zu Paulchen und all den anderen kleinen Charakteren, die David bisher geschaffen hat. Aber ein bisschen was Persönliches wollte ich natürlich auch noch wissen …

David Melling –
Questions and answers (II)

  • As an author one is often asked about favourite writers. Do you have any “idols”? Which illustrators and children’s book authors do you like?
    This is such a difficult question to answer. I’ve had so many artists and writers who have inspired my work over the years. But, if I think hard I could name three sources that have been very important to my development of story telling, humour and character (three vital ingredients in my work). They are: Asterix & Obelix (I still read these now), Laurel & Hardy (one of my proudest achievements as a parent has been introducing my children to both Laurel & Hardy), and Tom & Jerry. Interesting these are all double acts! Favourite artists/illustrators include Ronald Searle, Lisbeth Zwerger, Michael Foreman… favourite books would include Dr Seuess, Winnie-the- Pooh and Where the Wild Things Are. I better stop or I’ll be here all day).
  • What (or who) inspires you? Do you prefer being alone or surrounded by people to brainstorm?
    I certainly prefer working alone. I’m very comfortable in my own company. Years ago I used to share a basement studio with 2 photographers but I didn’t enjoy the artificial light all day and I was too easily distracted. I’m very happy working alone. Inspiration comes from EVERYWHERE! Books, newspapers, films, TV, talking and listening – this last one is very important. It’s amazing what you hear people talk about in public! I don’t always hear a whole conversation from beginning to end but it’s enough to get the mind working. The other day I passed an elderly couple and one said to the other: “…and he can only fall asleep by thinking of leopards!” The trick is to carry a notebook and a pen to write things down…quickly! How many things I’ve lost believing I would remember later. My tip for any writer or artist: carry a notebook or sketchbook around with you at all times. In answer to the second part of this question, I do like bouncing ideas off my editor and designer. A little collaboration at this level is very important, I certainly value the relationship I have with my publisher.
  • What is the best thing about doing events on Literature-Festivals?
    I really do like working alone. I enjoy my own company much of the time. But I also recognize it is not healthy to stay so isolated for long periods…without my family I’d probably go bananas! So author events have proved to be a great way of working away from my drawing board. As I child I was extremely shy (still am, really), and my early events, public speaking, were a real challenge for me, I found it very difficult. But, like all things, once something is repeated a number of times it becomes easier. I used to dread literary festivals a real bundle of nerves), but now I actually enjoy it (you have no idea how amazing that is for me to say!). Speaking at festivals helps me connect with readers who often surprise me trip me up with their wonderful, gracious comments. I feel very humbled. I also discovered it’s very helpful for me to read my books out in public. Oh dear, SO many little mistakes! (It’s not the same reading out loud, alone in my studio). So by reading to an audience, it focuses on some of the aspects of my writing that need to improve. It’s a positive approach to not liking my own work!
  • So David, last question. What book are you reading at the moment?
    I have a real love of spy and thriller writing (fact and fiction). Currently I’m reading THE PIGEON’S TUNNEL (Stories from My Life) by John Le Carré.

Was bleibt zu sagen?

Ganz klar: David Melling ist nicht nur ein Künstler mit beeindruckenden Ideen (das liegt übrigens in der Familie, sein Vater war Bildhauer). Er ist auch ein echt netter Kerl, der sich für benachteiligte Kinder einsetzt. Aktuell arbeitet er mit Living Paintings an einer Ausgabe von „Hugless Douglas and the Great Cake Bake“, bei der die Figuren durch plastische Darstellung zum Leben erwachen. Dies soll Kindern mit Sehschwäche ermöglichen, besseren und vor allem sinnvollen Zugang zu Bilderbüchern zu erhalten.

Last but not least: Thank you, David Melling, for everything. You rock!

About Angela Kirchner

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