We recently received The Day War Came by Nicola Davies and Illustrated by Rebecca Cobb. The story follows a young girl as she tells the reader the story of war…
From her home to her classroom, war descends and changes the landscape all around her. The story was originally a poem published on the Guardian newspaper’s website and within this book the poem has been accompanied by gorgeous (and sometimes harrowing) illustrations.
I had a firm lump in my throat reading this to my children. It’s utterly heartbreaking to connect the dots and register how this is happening right now. I think this book is incredibly relevant and it’s a story we all need to wake up to. I also think it’s important to educate our children about the realities of war, in the sheer hope that they can create a better future for the world.
This book is a story of devastation and hope, and I feel very lucky to have had the chance to ask illustrator Rebecca Cobb a few questions about the book…
- How easy was it to translate story to illustration?
I was daunted by the prospect of creating illustrations that lived up to the text because I think this is such an important and significant book. But I think because Nicola’s words are so powerful, I had a very vivid idea of how I pictured the images from the first time that I read it and my original storyboard for the book is quite similar to how it eventually ended up looking. When I’m illustrating a book the characters always feel like real people to me and I can often see them in my head quite easily, and this was particularly the case with this project because it is a story that is sadly happening in real life today.
- How do you begin this transformation, is it with a particular character or scene?
For this book, alongside the design of the little girl who is the main character, the first thing that I decided on was the colour palette. I wanted to use colour to add to the symbolism in the story – the darkness of graphite pencil against the lightness of the cream, with blood-red for the little girl’s clothing and fiery orange in the flowers on the windowsill, children’s drawings of volcanoes and the flames of the explosions when the war arrives.
- Did you want to work in illustration from a young age?
Yes, for as long as I can remember I have always loved drawing and making things. I would often make little picture books at home and stick them together and at school I was sometimes told off for spending too long illustrating all my projects rather than doing the projects themselves!
- What advice would you give a budding illustrator?
My main advice is to draw lots and lots, and to keep drawing and don’t give up!