Roozeboos, or Anne Roos Kleiss as you might know her in daily life, is one of the six debut picture book illustrators shortlisted for the 2022 Klaus Flugge Prize. This year’s judges for the Klaus Flugge Prize are multi-award-winning illustrator Emily Gravett, Professor Martin Salisbury of Anglia Ruskin University, Flavia Z Drago, 2021 winner, and Nikki Bi, the Beyond Books Lead at Civic Square in Birmingham.
They describe Roozeboos’ book Choices as dynamic, full of energy with a freewheeling, unruly chaos that feels genuine. The colours she uses conjure the summer. They felt the message about the importance of choice is subtly delivered and feel that Roozeboos is a great observer of humanity. Her book made them laugh.
Here Roozeboos describes the approach she took and the techniques used in creating her picture book.
This is an image from Choices, which is my first picture book. As the title suggests, the book is all about making choices. From small choices to big choices, easy ones or the ones that take more time. In the book, we follow a little girl who sees people making different decisions by the poolside. The story leads up to her making a choice whether to jump off the very high diving board. She puts her toes over the edge, takes a deep breath and then just follows her heart! Sometimes new things are scary, but it gives you a big sense of relief when you believe in yourself and it goes well.
In this image, I really tried to show this feeling, and the energy and confidence of her jump. It’s also the only spread of the book that doesn’t have any words. I think this resonates with the confident feeling I want to give with the image; no words are needed. Also, it matches the feeling of suddenly being in a different world, the underwater world.
I made the illustration using crayons, markers, coloured pencil and little bits of white gouache on blue paper. I love how the crayons give so much fun and energy to every drawing, and the coloured pencil lets me put in little details. When I was working on the book, I had to look carefully at how water flows, how the lights move underwater, and what this does to the perspective. I did a lot of drawing at the pool in my sketchbook to capture these things, and to also get inspiration for all the cool swimsuits the people wear in a lido! I love the funky colours and patterns they all seem to have. I also wanted the book to be as inclusive as possible. If you look at this image you can see lots of different skin colours and body types, which I think is so important to show. The book is a big mix of lots of characters which was a joy to draw. I really loved working on it and I hope that as a reader you can also feel this!
Choices is published by Child’s Play, 978-1786285645, £7.99 pbk.