The girls are just delighted with this first pop-up book from amazing new talent, Masha D’yans, whom we met at Books of Wonder! They read/play with this book all the time and particularly like the last page where Ruby becomes like one of those paper dolls – you have to see it to get what I mean! Ruby (who has the same gorgeous curly hair as Masha) transforms a typical winter day into a gleaming-beaming fairy tale. The mix of beautiful watercolors, elegant interactive paper engineering, and whimsical storytelling, makes this charming picture book a real hit. Available here.
And here is our little Bellissima interview with Masha:
Jeanne: How did your first pop-up book come about? What were the challenges?
Masha: Growing up in snowy Russia, I spent a lot of time reading and looking at picture books. It was always my dream to one day make my own. The dream was finally realized in a rather indirect way: I’ve worked on the MoMA holiday card program for a number of years. Over time I amassed a collection of rejected ideas that I liked – most of them had to do with winter and snow. Reviewing a group of these concepts one day, I found a story… Scholastic saw it too and the book was born!
As for challenges, I’m used to creating cards which are like mini-posters – they quickly convey one concept. Books offer a further dimension through the element of time and storytelling, which is both a challenge and opportunity. I love that the picture book-form allows you to layer detailed information and create stories through the combination of words/images/design. The trick is to then balance all the elements, including pop-ups, to make a compelling whole. And finally, every element in a paper-engineered book has to be precisely calculated to move properly, and the paintings have to fit those proportions. It’s a lot of detailed work.
Jeanne: Who is your greatest inspiration?
Masha: I’m inspired by talent and skill of any kind. Each day I fall in love with yet another artwork or film or a piece of sushi. But the greatest inspiration remains my incredibly multi-talented mom. She’s the one who showed me the world through a prism of creativity, resourcefulness and humor that still sustains me today.
Jeanne: What is your next project?
Masha: I’m illustrating a fantastic collaborative epic poem about New York, written by school children from around the five boroughs.
The text is incredibly imaginative which allows me to experiment visually on the theme of my favorite city. The book will be published by Rizzoli this fall.