Illustrating Irvin | Lisa Falzon

Veteran Merlin illustrator Lisa Falzon speaks to us about bringing Bonello’s Irvin Vella to life with a series of Edward Gorey style illustrations

Lisa Falzon
Lisa Falzon
Irvin Vella by John Bonello, illustrated by Lisa Falzon
Irvin Vella by John Bonello, illustrated by Lisa Falzon

“I got my first job with Merlin aged 20. When I mull over that, it’s both wonderful and also amazing that they took a chance on such a newbie!

“I’m always excited when I am offered a spot onboard a new project by Merlin Publishers because they are always a challenge. No tried-and-trusted quickies – there’s always a new style request, or a new audience, or a push to stay contemporary. Malta-grown projects get slated as conventional and parochial – Merlin are actually a very avant-garde publishing house in comparison to others I’ve worked with from the USA or UK. They take creative risks, and I love the opportunities to get to do something a little new. As soon as Chris mentioned that they’d need inside illustrations for Irvin Vella’s first escapade in print to be black and white I got really excited – I never get to draw in black and white much!

“The story has got that mix of humour and melodrama that made me think of those old fashioned-radio plays with the discordant organs marking out climaxes – the setting, and the need for black and white, meant playing tribute to one of my favourite grumpy illustrators was an obvious choice. I knew too that I could easily lend my own mark by offering contemporary ‘camera’ angles and more cartoony faces, to appeal to the modern young audience the book was written for.”

To see more of Lisa Falzon’s work, log on to her Etsy shop

Read our interview with John Bonello

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