There’s something fabulously magical about our designer of the week, Giuseppe Poli. I would suggest that his mind is a superbly happy place, filled with vivid imagery and whimsical adventures, just waiting to come to life when pen meets paper. He recently illustrated a children’s book called Hootie the Cutie, which is our new favourite bedtime story…
I love my iPad, but I must say, it just doesn’t compare to the joy that I feel as I flick through the pages of a children’s book. Giuseppe Poli’s imagining of Hootie the Cutie is colourful and charming, and his illustrations bring the words to life in a way that lights up little faces and engages all ages.
The story is written by Michelle Worthington and is all about Hootie, a little owl who doesn’t like being the smallest owl in the enchanted wood. Hootie longs to show her protective papa that she is strong and brave; and one day, she gets her chance when the woodland creatures notice strange noises coming from a usually quiet cave…
Hootie takes kids on an adventure that conveys the message that strength and courage comes from the inside, and that it’s possible to be brave even when you’re small.
Hootie the Cutie is an Australian publication, and I heartily urge you to support this beautiful collaboration by snapping up your very own copy. You can order a personally signed copy (with a little Hootie sketch!) from Giuseppe via his Facebook page.
The verdict… A heartwarming tale, with warm and whimsical illustration, that is fit for frequent re-telling.
Hootie the Cutie is Giuseppe Poli’s first published children’s book, although he has been drawing for many years. He explains, “I’ve always loved creating things and have been drawing for as long as I can remember. When I was younger I used to make pictures, games and stories and loved seeing people enjoy them and talk about them later. It was lots of fun – I think it’s like the same thrill as entertaining or doing something nice for someone, however big or small. I’ve had a little bit of art training but most of it has come from looking and self learning from artists/illustrators/authors via the internet”.
Hootie the Cutie is a collaboration between Giuseppe Poli and writer Michelle Worthington. Michelle’s story is simple, sweet, and inspiring, and provided a wonderful canvas for Giuseppe’s artwork. He explains, “Michelle created a lovely story and I wanted to create a world and pictures that took us to into these wonderful scenes to feel and experience them. When I was a kid I used to love exploring the world in the pictures and seeing all the other things that were happening that weren’t mentioned in the words. I feel it creates a more enthralling experience and we get to spend a little bit of time learning about the other characters and how they enjoy the woods”.
Giuseppe lists “the small things in life or the little moments” as his primary creative inspiration. He says, “Usually it’s a little phrase or something my children are doing, or sometimes when I hear about something that touches your heart. That moment usually sets things off and then I love exploring how I can make that really fun and enjoyable for someone to read or see. Apart from the little moments, I’m inspired by lots of things and am coming to learn that inspiration comes flooding when I’m not looking for it. All I need to do is just live life and be in the moment, with the people I’m with and treasuring them or being mindful of whatever I’m doing.
“Life zooms by and seems so easy to get caught up in the busyness of things and I think it might be the challenge of the creative mind, but I keep wandering off and pondering things. But truly, there are so many beautiful creations that people make and they are so inspiring – it’s nice to know that even when I’m not surrounded by beautifully made things, I’m not far from a little flower or a fluffy cloud or a cute question from a little one – beauty that isn’t crafted, just waiting to be noticed”.
Here’s three fun facts about Giuseppe (in his own words):
My wife and I were street Latin American dance instructors in a previous life, and one day I’d love to get back out dancing again with her. The music is so much fun to move to!
I love getting outdoors, either gardening or bushwalking or running through parks with the kids.
I’m a bit of a Tolkien fan, and I managed to work on the film ‘The Lord of the Rings – Return of the King’. That was a dream job and one of the moments in my life where I can honestly say that if you wish for it, do what you can, somehow the rest of the puzzle seems to fall into place and then your dreams do come true.
Giuseppe says he’s looking to forward to working on more children’s books in the future, and says, “One day people might be able to enjoy these wonderful characters in more huggable and snuggable, and animated/musical ways”.
Would you like to win one of two copies of Hootie the Cutie? To enter, simply visit Giuseppe Poli’s Facebook page, Hootie the Cutie album and tell us which Hootie image would you like to see available to buy as a print? Please submit your entry through the Rafflecopter widget below. You can also score extra entries into the prize draw by joining us on Facebook or tweeting about the giveaway. Winner announced on 19 June, 2014.