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Q&A with Gabriel Alborozo

Author and illustrator from UK

Hello! My name is Gabriel Alborozo and i’m an author and illustrator. Basically I spend a great deal of time daydreaming.

Was it an easy choice for you to enter the children's market? What were the main reasons for your decision?

The decision to become a children’s author / illustrator was a very natural one really, but in many ways via a path that perhaps isn’t open nowadays. Previously I worked for a long time as a gag cartoonist for various magazines such as Punch and Private Eye, and I had always been aware that many cartoonists, particularly the old Punch crowd, had almost seamlessly moved from the magazines to children’s books. It’s actually not a huge jump from small, stand alone drawings of funny looking characters, either telling a joke or illustrating an article, to thirty or so pages of funny looking characters. In many ways the jokes are the same as well.

There came a point with cartooning where many of the magazines were beginning to shut, newspapers were closing and those that remained took fewer and fewer drawings, so it was at that point I decided to move onto my current path.

Would you tell us about your books for children: what was your debut picture book and what are you working on now?

The first picture book I had published was ‘The Colour Thief’ a story of an alien from a monochrome world arriving here to steal all the colour to take back home. Which he proceeds to do. However, once he steals the last colour in the world from a boy’s balloon, he begins to question his decision. I did enjoy writing and making that.

The Colour Thief

Currently i’m working on various projects that I actually can’t really chat about at this stage. On the desk right now are illustrations for a book taking place in a playground which is fun to create, as well as roughs and draft texts for several new ones of my own. I’ve also recently completed a 1st draft of a young fiction chapter book. That was immense fun to write.

Do you read children’s books occasionally? Are they a major influence on your work?

I admit that I very rarely read other picture books. There are the odd one or two that crop up that are visually so beautiful I almost feel obliged to buy them, but on the whole I don’t look. The main reason being that they can almost be too much of an influence. It helps me keep a clear head.

Who are the comic artists and cartoonists that influenced you at the beginning of your career and how much has the list changed since then?

Talking of influence, as I grew up I was almost made to be a cartoonist by my dad. So from a very young age indeed I was exposed to a huge number of artists and cartoonists. At the very beginning I would have to name E.H Shepard and Chuck Jones. As time went on it became almost entirely cartoonists but to list just a few of many, Scarfe, Searle, Steadman, Uderzo, Ardizzone, Mike Williams and Sempe.

Essentially nothing changed since then. These guys were and are almost unbelievably skilled draftsmen, but also naturally very funny people as well. Those two things hand in glove make for some astonishing work.