Louiselle Sciberras | Expressing your inner child

Illustrator Louiselle Sciberras, who took home the Terramaxka Prize for best original works for children ages 0-7 for her book ‘Luċjan u Enzo: is-sriedak li kienu jgħiru għal xulxin’ speaks to LAURA CALLEJA about relationship with Illustrator and author, and how good coordination is the key to crafting an award-winning book  

Louiselle Sciberras (right)
Louiselle Sciberras (right)

Could you tell us about your trajectory as an illustrator?

Art has been my passion since childhood. Until a few years ago I was more concentrated on traditional art, painting with oils on canvas. I only recently developed an interest in digital illustration. I was once discussing my dream of illustrating a picture book with a friend of mine who coincidentally mentioned that she had this dream of writing a children’s book. Naturally we joined forces and within a few months we had our first set of books published. After that we continued collaborating on other picture books.

What was the process of crafting your award-winning book like?

The book was the result of good coordination, not just between author and illustrator, but primarily between two friends. ‘Lucjan u Enzo: Is-Sriedak li kienu jghiru ghal xulxin’ was part of a set of four books. The storylines and illustrations were developed over a few months. The author and I found a publishing agency almost straight away. The overall process was a very good experience. It involved great teamwork between all parties involved.

How did it feel to win the National Book Prize in 2023?

It felt surreal. It was our first publication and sincerely was not expecting it. I was looking forward to enjoying the awards evening as a new experience, but winning the prize made the evening extremely special. I felt grateful for the opportunity and the prize gave me the motivation to keep following my passion.

What are some of the particular challenges of illustrating for children and young adults?

I don’t find it particularly challenging since it is one of the things I love doing most. I try to express my inner child perspective in my illustrations to create an appealing book for the target audience. In the end it is all about imagination and creativity.

How did you approach balancing the narrative elements with the visual storytelling to effectively convey the moral lessons in ‘Lucjan u Enzo: Is-Sriedak li kienu jghiru ghal xulxin’, ensuring both aspects complement each other to engage young readers?

The book ‘Lucjan u Enzo: Is-Sriedak li kienu jghiru ghal xulxin’ portrays a variety of emotions. The illustrations helped to emphasize the various emotions of the main characters of the story, consisting of a group of farm animals. The emotions were exaggerated in the illustrations to positively impress the young readers.

What’s next for you?

While the illustration market is vast, I am currently completely focused on books. I love illustrating both picture and chapter books. I hope to keep illustrating books in the future.

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In collaboration with the National Book Council, MaltaToday will be interviewing the winners of the 2023 National Book Prize and Terramaxka Prize for children and young adults. More information regarding the awards can be found at ktieb.org.mt/