Anete Melece is a Latvian author and illustrator. She has published a number of books and also does film animation.
In October Gecko Press is publishing her book, The Kiosk, a warm and curious story about how someone who is stuck finding a way to be free.
She took over the Gecko Press Instagram account on Wednesday 23rd September to share her journey of becoming a freelance illustrator, how she created The Kiosk, and what she is working on now. Here is what happened during Anete’s takeover:
I come from Latvia, but for more than a decade my home has been Zürich, Switzerland, where I live with my husband and our two-year-old daughter, Stella.
I am very happy that, thanks to Gecko Press, Olga, the heroine of my book The Kiosk has travelled into the English language and even to New Zealand. I hope one day I will be able to join her.
This comic tells how I became a self-employed animation filmmaker and illustrator, but at the same time it is also the backstory of The Kiosk.
As you will see—I first made The Kiosk story as an animated short film.
The shape of Olga’s kiosk is not an accident—it was inspired by a real kiosk in Riga. If you ever visit there, look for the crossing of Barona Street and Aspasia’s Boulevard.
While I was working on the story I did some research interviewing people who work at kiosks and sketching their customers. Some of my observations ended up in the story.
Creating a picture book based on a film was an easy and at the same time a complicated task. In a way I had to forget about the animation for a while and focus only on the story and how I would tell it if there was no film at all.
Meanwhile I thought a lot about the advantages of a book. One of the best ones is that you can hold it in your hands!
First I drew a storyboard with small pictures. When that seemed okay, I drew more detailed black and white drawings, then painted the final illustrations with the help of light board.
This is my studio or, as we say in Switzerland, atelier. I share it with 15 other wonderful illustrators, animation filmmakers, writers and even a publishing house.
I use different kinds of techniques and tools. The Kiosk was painted with acrylic paints combined with a black pencil for details. Some time ago I was almost obsessed with felt-tip pens, but lately I prefer coloured pencils.
Right now I am illustrating a book for the publisher liels un mazs—we have been working together for so long that I can call them my friends. This is the third story about the Buzzfly and her grandfather Whale written by Lauris Gundars, and since I drew the first two books with felt-tip pens, I have to continue to use the same technique. It is a bit challenging to keep them looking the same as in previous books (only a bit older)—I just realised that lately the heads of my characters has grown bigger. Don’t know why, it just happened!
Here is a time-lapse video of me drawing:
The Kiosk has been published in other languages, but unfortunately this year most of the events—tours, readings, workshops—have been cancelled due to the infamous virus.
That’s why I was especially happy that Swiss animation festival Fantoche took place in real life and not online and I had the chance to represent the German edition of the book Der Kiosk (published by Atlantis, Orell Füssli Verlag).
For one day I opened a mini kiosk where I signed books and drew people’s portraits on magazine covers or packages of different snacks.
Here is a time-lapse video of me making my own kiosk for the Swiss animation festival Fantoche.
After many years of collecting sunset photos Olga’s dreams came true—finally she can enjoy a really splendid sunset. I hope same thing will happen with all our dreams!
Good night and thank you, Anete, for sharing your day with us and letting us peek into your office and at your marker pens!
We didn’t know when we first saw The Kiosk that it would become such a book for our times—we just loved the story for itself. But now most of us know firsthand how Olga feels stuck inside. So here’s to a future where we get free and find our splendid sunsets!
The Kiosk is an unexpected and original picture book about being stuck and finding a way to get free. It will be available worldwide in English from 7th October 2020 wherever you buy or consume your books and on our website.
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