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It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of author/illustrator Steve Light here at All The Wonders. Last year we featured his fabulous picture book, SWAP!, and we even stopped by Steve’s home studio to make a video about his process. But today we’re here to premiere the trailer for Steve’s latest picture book: Lucky Lazlo!
Illustrated in Steve’s one-of-a-kind, intricately detailed pen-and-ink style, Lucky Lazlo is the story of a boy who chases a cat backstage and through the wild sets of a theatrical production of Alice In Wonderland in order to deliver a single rose. It is love that sets Lazlo on his journey, just as it was Steve’s love of theater that inspired him to tell this story.
Watch the trailer below, and then keep reading to learn more about the creation of this beautiful book!
Hi Steve! Can you tell us how you came up with the idea for Lucky Lazlo?
Steve: I always wanted to do a story about the goings on behind a theatre production but could never crack how to tell the story. Then one day I was reading Drummer Hoff by Ed Emberley to my Pre-K class and thought I would tell the story or structure the story that way. That got me back into working on the idea but I never did tell the story that way or structure the story that way. The story stayed about the backstage workers at a theatre but turned into a love story with lots of theatre superstitions hidden in the illustrations.
The more I researched theaters and such, the more superstitions I found, so I had to add them to the story. The girl Lazlo was in love with, she needed to be in a play where she did not kiss anyone else like a prince on stage. So Alice in Wonderland seemed a fine choice as there were lots of fun characters for me to design and draw. Then the cat was thrown in to move Lazlo and the story along through the backstage of the theatre. Lazlo was going to be a pizza delivery boy –yikes, what a different story that would have been!
The story takes place at the Peacock Theater. Did you draw on any particular influences to create this beautiful setting?
Steve: I looked at a lot of William Morris textiles designs as inspiration for the theater. From designing the wall paper to the murals. Some of his art even influenced the stage set designs. I actually wrote a whole backstory for the Peacock Theatre because i felt I really needed to know it. It felt like an important character in the story. This is the backstory I wrote. (It has not seen the loving touch of an editor, so it may not be very eloquent, but it was only really written for me):
The Peacock Theatre was built by art collector, turned movie and theatre financier Hugo Seabee. It was built for his lover Christine Madison. Christine was a young starlet that Hugo discovered and who stared in all of his films and theatrical productions. The Peacock was built to premiere all of her films. The peacocks represent Christine and her beauty, the lion represents Hugo.
After a string of failures Hugo and Christine moved into The Peacock to live until their tragic deaths just days apart. Some say The Peacock is haunted by the two who can be seen dancing or sometimes smiling through the peacock feathers that decorate the theatre. The Peacock has since reopened and been refurbished and is now a popular venue for children’s theatre productions.
What materials did you use for the illustrations in this story?
Steve: I used a New Postal Fountain Pen with a special Hane Fude nib designed by the great Richard Binder. This nib allows me to draw those thick scraggly lines and the hairline thin lines all in one pen. Then the illustrations were colored with Diamine fountain pen ink and a little colored pencil.
Do you have a favorite moment or page in Lucky Lazlo, and why?
Steve: I love the mad tea party page. I actually did that page twice. the first one was set back more you could see the audience more and the cat was just running through not creating the terrific mess that he is in the final illustration–so much fun to draw.
Lazlo’s affection for a girl sets the story in motion. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, is there anything you’d like to say on the subject of love?
Steve: I am lucky to have my wife who is the love of my life. If you are looking for love, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love and have love for yourself and life.
I am blessed. I love art. I love life and I love my wife.
Hopefully the world will find a way to love one another in all our differences and similarities.
LUCKY LAZLO. Copyright © 2016 by Steve Light. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.
Steve Light loves to draw. He draws everyday whether it is drawing in his sketchbook or on fancy paper for an illustration. Steve loves fountain pens and collects these ancient artifacts in order to draw with them. He also loves making things. Steve usually makes things like sculptures and toys out of wood. Steve especially loves sharing his art and stories with children, because truth be told, Steve is a big kid at heart.