Go Wild

A new publication from Hvass & Hannibal uses lush illustrations and poetry by Angela McAllister to tell the stories of the world's wildest endangered habitats. We caught up with Sofie Hannibal and Nan Na Hvass to find out more...

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How did the book come about, and when did you first start working with Wide Eyed Editions?
We’ve worked with Wide Eyed Editions before, a few years ago, when we released our first two children’s books: Technicolour Treasure Hunt and Patterntastic Treasure Hunt. Later, they proposed that we make a new book together, based on our personal illustration piece called ‘Time Stood Still’, and that illustration is now the cover of Wild World, altered a tiny bit to fit with the contents of the book.

What is the book about, and what attracted you to the project?
The book depicts 13 different natural habitats, showing the plants and wild life that live there. It is a gentle reminder of how our precious natural environments are threatened and need protection. We wanted to make this book because it was a great possibility to showcase our work in this format, and we’ve long dreamed of creating a very intricately illustrated book.

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What was your starting point for the illustrations and where did you look for reference materials?
The book is based on our personal illustration piece Time Stood Still – the whole concept of Wild World is actually based on this illustration. Also, since childhood we’ve been admirers of Kit Williams’ books and their beautiful, precise illustrations that are so close to reality but still so incredibly dreamy.

What were the biggest challenges posed by the project, and how did you overcome them?
Usually our illustrations are more fictive and abstract, often depicting unreal or surrealist environments, where we can let our imagination go wherever it wants to. So illustrating all these animals and habitats in a way that has enough precision to act educational for kids, but to still give them personality, was actually very challenging for us. In an ideal world we could have put everything aside and just worked on this for a whole year, but unfortunately that’s not a possibility, so it was quite hard work getting it all done among all our other projects!

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How did the structure of the book develop, and was there a dialogue between yourselves and the writer of the poems, Angela McAllister, during the project?
The cover and some of the first spreads we did acted as inspiration for Angela, and then we think that once she came into the vibe of the book, it started to be her poems that acted as our briefs for each spread, so that we knew which animals and plants needed to appear in each illustration.

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Which part of the project do you think worked particularly well?
The parts where we could be more imaginative, like the coral spread for instance, as we could make up corals and sea plants that don’t necessarily exist. Whereas for some other spreads, we needed to be more realistic.

What are you working on next?
We are working with graphic identities for several music festivals, and right now we are working on an editorial illustration piece. We just did illustrations for an augmented reality project in China so hopefully that will be exciting to see!

Wild World is out now and available for purchase here.

hvasshannibal.dk

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