Creating art for a book starts with sketches in a small journal I always have with me.

I think of the characters and how they could be dressed, then decide on a time period for the style of the costumes and the setting, whether it’s the 18th century, 19th or a mixture of time.

Once I have chosen the style of dress and time period, I start working with volumes. I build the characters first, with a wire skeleton and then with thin bands of paper around to create shape. When the body is ready I paint it with gouache and work on the head with fimo paste. I prepare the paper for the costume and work on it piece by piece, like a tailor.

It is a long process, but after this I have in my hands the character for the book, like a little puppet I can change positions and play with!

The settings are a mixture of things I create and things I paint. I start with photos of scenes for the book and work on them further in Photoshop. As you can see from my work, I transform the photos so that it is not easy to tell if the illustrations in my books are ‘real’ pictures or paintings. They are, of course, illusions! I work with a lot of layers and patina to give to my pictures this special appearance.

Miss Clara is a French artist with a great following among readers of fairy tales. She lives in Bordeaux, France. Visit her blog, her website and like her on Facebook!

Her newest stories for Barefoot Books are gorgeous hardback editions of The Princess and the Pea, The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Snow Queen. Each comes with a story CD narrated by professional storyteller and author of The Princess and the Pea Xanthe Gresham. Miss Clara also illustrated paperback chapter book editions of The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Snow Queen for Barefoot Books.

Shop all of our Miss Clara titles! US Shoppers / UK Shoppers

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