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Behind The Book: A Fish Called Andromeda

A Fish Called Andromeda is the second children’s picture book by author Cynthia C. Huijgens and first for illustrator/animator Yusuke Watanabe. As you’ll soon discover, it’s not your ordinary fish tale. Find out what can happen when a little girl’s imagination is given life by a kindly old neighbour with a connection to the stars.

For a glimpse behind the book, check out this mini interview with Yusuke Watanabe.

What attracted you to this project?

I like to work with a combination of black and white and colour illustrations in mixed media. So, I was very excited when Cynthia told me that she was seeking this sort of look for her project. I read Cynthia’s story and was immediately inspired by it.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

Art had not been present in my life. International business law was my first major at university in Japan. After that, I worked for Japanese mobile phone carrier and ultimately found that I wasn’t happy working in this environment. Life is too long to do what you don’t want to do, but too short to do what you like to do! I started to re-examine what I wanted out of life. I listened to the voice in my mind and understood that I wanted to draw and create stories that inspire people. So, I quit my job and became an artist. Until then, I didn’t have any art background. I taught myself to drawing.

What experience/skills do you bring to the craft of book illustration?

I bring my own sense of abstract painting and line work. Also, I take a traditional approach to get warm feelings and blend it with very modern digital art to create beautiful harmony.

Where would you like to be in five years?

Outdoors with my family and friends. I look forward to the day that we can get together and have a good time again. Drawing and painting for more children’s picture books and making animation films would be plus.

You are a student at CalArts in Los Angeles, but because of Covid you’re back living in your home country of Japan. What has the past year been like for you?

I have been staying with my family, thinking about friends, and working on my own projects. During Covid restrictions I felt like I needed to do something new, like I wanted to spice up my life, so I made a comic for the first time. It’s more like French style comic, not story driven but, more about the art. It was so much fun to make, I’ll do more comics in the future.

Is there anything else you want readers of A Fish Called Andromeda to know about you?

I like chocolate and chai tea!

A Fish Called Andromeda cover reveal July 2021