“I think the common quality to all the picture books I’ve liked is that you can tell whoever made it had a crush on the idea. I think audiences—especially kids—can sense that and respond to that. It doesn’t mean that every book the author had an affection for is going to be good, but I think all the good ones are like that. ”
— Jon Klassen

Jon Klassen (Photo: Sonya Sones)

Jon Klassen (Photo: Sonya Sones)

美國最具權威的繪本插畫獎凱迪克獎(Caldecott Medal),日前揭曉了2015年的得獎名單。繪本作家和插畫家Jon Klassen的最新作品Sam and Dave Dig a Hole一直一直往下挖)獲得了銀牌獎,這也是他繼2013年以This Is Not My Hat(這不是我的帽子)獲得金牌大獎榮譽之後,第二度得到凱迪克獎。

最早注意到 Jon Klassen 的作品,是他為動畫長片 Coraline(第十四道門)繪製的腳本,混合了陰鬱與黑色幽默的畫風,讓他的作品有極高的辨識度。他一手包辦故事與插畫的繪本 I Want My Hat Back (2011) 和續集 This Is Not My Hat (2012),曾盤踞在紐約時報暢銷書榜 (The New York Times Best Seller list) 長達40週。適逢Jon Klassen的新作《一直一直往下挖》在台灣出版中文版,插畫生活很榮幸可以專訪到Jon Klassen,跟他談談關於創作的心得。以下是Jon的訪問內容。


你是如何成為插畫家的?

我是從動畫開始做起的。當初進入學校是想要成為動畫師,但是很快就意識到自己並不是那麼喜歡動畫,至少不是以那些大製作的電影所要做的方式。不過我倒是喜歡為他們做設計,所以我把重心放在動畫設計和故事分鏡表上,這是對插畫產生興趣的美好結合。我並沒有真的想過用自己的方式去創作圖像或插畫,直到我做了很多電影之後,才開始找出我喜歡的東西和我擁有的感受力。這變成我工作的主要方式,所以,在我因為風格上不如其他人靈活而被解僱之前,自己出來做插畫家似乎是個明智的抉擇。

How did you become an illustrator?

I started out in animation. I went to school to be an animator, but quickly realised I didn’t like animating very much, at least not the way you have to do for big films. I did like designing for them, though, so i focused on that and storyboarding, which is a nice combo for breeding an interest in illustration. I hadn’t really thought about my own way of making pictures or illustrations until I did a lot of work for the films and began to pick out things that I liked and sensibilities I have. These became such a big part of how I worked that it seemed wise to go out on my own as an illustrator before I got fired for not being as stylistically flexible as the other guys.

Copyright ©2014. From SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE | Text © 2014 Mac Barnett, Illustrations © 2014 Jon Klassen | Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Ltd, London SE11 5HJ. www.walker.co.uk

Copyright ©2014. From SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE | Text © 2014 Mac Barnett, Illustrations © 2014 Jon Klassen | Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Ltd, London SE11 5HJ. www.walker.co.uk

除了繪本之外,我也很愛你的作品「第十四道門」。你還在做動畫嗎?

我仍然試著做少許的動畫工作。我喜歡與人合作,有些故事是書無法傳達而電影可以的。 去年我跟谷歌/摩托羅拉合作了一個計畫叫「起風的日子」,我擔任動畫的藝術指導。能夠再將觸角伸及到那個方向蠻好的。

Besides your picture books, I also love your work in “Coraline”. Do you still do animations?

I do still try and work in animation a little bit. I enjoy working collaboratively and there are stories that film can do that books can’t. I worked with a team at Google/Motorola art directing some animation on a project called “Windy Day” last year and it was so nice to stretch my head in that direction again.

你的繪本故事是怎麼想出來的?

在想出故事之前,有很長的時間我必須在黑暗中摸索出一條路。在感覺對了之前,一切都是場災難。通常是難以決定誰來說故事,或者要如何說故事。我沒有太多寫作經驗,而動畫教我一件事,就是在說好故事之前,不要先去想怎麼「把東西畫得漂亮」。因此我會在這個階段徘徊一陣子,一旦文字部分滿意了,通常文字就會帶出情節,情節建議插畫的方向,然後(希望)所有的事情都水到渠成。

How do you come up with the stories for your picture books?

I have to feel my way in the dark for a long time before something clicks and it all makes sense. Everything until the click is kind of disastrous, but it’s usually a decision about who is telling the story, or how it’s going to be told. I don’t have a lot of experience writing, and one thing animation taught me is not to get into the “making things pretty” stage until the story is working, so I wander around in that stage for a while. But once I find a conceit in the writing, it often suggests plot opportunities and those suggest illustration direction and the whole thing (hopefully) comes together.

你從哪裡尋找靈感?你又如何克服瓶頸(如果你曾經有瓶頸的話)?

瓶頸很難克服,因為你不會遇到兩次相同的瓶頸。在你克服瓶頸的過程中所學到的事,只適用於當時的那些狀況;所以當下次再遇到瓶頸時,你故技重施卻發現自己還是陷在瓶頸中。我不缺故事的點子,我會有很多故事結局或開端的想法,或是一組三頁的故事,諸如此類;但是很難會完全知道如何朝著已知的結局去建構故事,並且還能符合說故事的形式等等。我喜歡在開始創作之前,先問這種形式適合什麼故事。書本適合某些特定的故事和情節,電影也有它自己的工具。它們都有各自的本質,例如書頁的翻閱、書的封面、或是書頁之間的書溝,這些都可以啟發一個故事或是故事可以建構的方法。

Where do you find inspirations? How do you overcome the artist block (if you ever have one)?

Blocks are so tough because I don’t think you ever get the same block twice. Anything you learn in fighting through a block is only really applicable to those circumstances, so the next time you get one you try all the old tricks and you’re still stuck. I don’t find I lack for ideas as much as whole complete things. I have lots of ideas for endings of stories, or beginnings of stories, or a set of three pages together, or something like that, but it’s so rare that a thing comes out that has an ending that you just know how to build towards and it fits your format and everything. I think that’s a big part of where I like to start, is asking what is the format good at. Books are good at certain kind of stories and moments, film has it’s own tools. Sometimes the qualities these things have inherently, like a page turn or a cover, or the gutter between pages, can suggest a story, or at least how one might be constructed.

你為自己的繪本寫故事和畫插畫,同時也為其他作者繪製插畫。這兩者之間在工作的方式上有何不同?例如,你是否更享受寫和畫自己的繪本時的那種創意自由?

當你有個很喜歡的點子時,慢慢地看著它開花結果是最棒的事。我覺得我很幸運,可以這樣子創作。但是,當你腦袋空空時,若有他人的創作讓你有共鳴並且從中得到靈感,可以減輕靈感枯竭的壓力,這樣也很好。這樣你的工作比較像是在解決問題,不需要從空白中生出故事來。其實我感到蠻意外的,對於幫作家繪製插畫感到非常得心應手,我非常享受整個過程。

You write and illustrate your own books, but also illustrate for other authors. What’s the difference between these two, in terms of the way you work? For instance, do you enjoy more freedom of creativity when doing both writing and illustrating on your own?

When you have an idea that you like, getting to see it through is the greatest thing. There’s nothing like it, and I’ve been really lucky to get to do it. But when you don’t have an idea, it’s such a huge load off to get someone else’s thing that you can connect to and find ideas in and there’s known quantities already and your job is to kind of solve the problem rather than conjure something out of nothing. I’ve been really pleasantly surprised how much of myself I can find in doing other people’s stories—it’s a really enjoyable process.

可以描述一下你創作繪本的過程嗎?

我都是從寫作開始。也許我腦中有幾個候選圖像,但是在我有信心作畫前,我必須先訴諸文字。 若非如此,圖像不會有個完美的歸宿,那是很令人傷心的。我也不覺得我能夠在一個故事上花太久的時間創作。若沒有一個完善的開端和架構,我往往很難找出問題出在哪裡。我喜歡發展一個既有的好故事,因為它們總是有合情合理的情節,而我可以領著這個故事一路走到一個好結局。相反的,若我在一個故事裡亂撲亂竄了幾天沒有進展,我就會放棄這個故事,重新來過。一旦有了好故事,我很快就可以畫好草圖,因為它可以改變你構思的方式。在定稿之前,通常我會進行三、四個回合的草圖,至於完稿也會花大致相當的時間完成。我會先從眾多草圖中選出看起來最豐富,最多元素的一頁,然後試著為我這本書的圖像列出一些共通規則,通常這會花上很長時間。我在第一個跨頁所花的時間,很可能跟書裡其他所有的頁面加起來一樣多。我會盡量讓媒材簡單,並符合這本書的調性,同時我也總是會清楚計畫好文字要如何編排,因為我不喜歡文字勉強地擠在一個角落,如果我預先知道文字會放在哪裡,作畫起來會輕鬆許多。

Can you describe your work process of creating picture books?

I always start just writing. I might have a few visuals in mind, but it has to work in the writing stage before i feel good about drawing anything. You break your own heart too often otherwise by drawings things that won’t ultimately have a home. I don’t find I can work on a story for a long time, either. If it’s not working pretty well from the outset, I have a hard time opening the hood and figuring out what the problem is. I love sharpening up an already sharp idea, when there’s reasons for things and an ending that you are building to, but if a story is just sort of flopping around for a few days, i usually just let it go and start fresh. Once there is a good sharp one, I get into the roughs pretty quickly, because that can change your thinking on a lot of things. The roughs stage usually goes through 3 or 4 drafts before it’s close to done, and the finals take about the same amount of time. I usually pick a spread that has a lot going on and try and figure out what the rules for making the pictures are going to be, and this can take a long time. It might take just as long to figure out that first spread as the rest of the pages take altogether. The medium for the pictures I try and keep relatively simple, and tied to whatever the tone of the book is going to be, and I always try and have a very clear plan for how the text is going to be laid out. I don’t like it when the text looks like it’s just forced itself into a little corner somewhere. I have an easier time relaxing in making the picture if I know the text has a home already.

你最常用或最喜歡創作的媒材是什麼?

最近是鉛筆。我還沒有用鉛筆來創作一本書過,但是目前已經有了一個點子。我就是很喜歡它的簡單,它是乾性媒材,所以不會弄得亂七八糟的,很容易控制,而且可以畫出很多溫柔的感覺。

What is your usual/favorite art medium?

Lately it’s graphite. I haven’t made a book with it yet, but I have an idea for one. I just really like how simple it is, and it’s dry and not very messy and you get a ton of control, and there’s so many nice soft things that happen.

在「一直一直往下挖」這本作品中,你自己最喜歡的是哪個畫面?

我最喜歡的一幕大概是當那兩個人在睡覺,狗狗挖破了地底。這是一個跨頁,有四分之三是泥土,我喜歡這兩個男生搞得黑漆嘛烏的模樣,還有在畫面上我們只看到狗狗的腿和尾巴。

Do you have a favorite spread form “Sam and Dave Dig a Hole”?

Probably my favorite is when they are sleeping and the dog has poked out the bottom. It’s about 3/4 just dirt and it’s a full spread and I really liked making it, and I like how the boys look and how dark they are, and that all we see of the dog is his back legs and tail.

Copyright ©2014. From SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE | Text © 2014 Mac Barnett, Illustrations © 2014 Jon Klassen | Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Ltd, London SE11 5HJ. www.walker.co.uk

Copyright ©2014. From SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE | Text © 2014 Mac Barnett, Illustrations © 2014 Jon Klassen | Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Ltd, London SE11 5HJ. www.walker.co.uk

Copyright ©2014. From SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE | Text © 2014 Mac Barnett, Illustrations © 2014 Jon Klassen | Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Ltd, London SE11 5HJ. www.walker.co.uk

Copyright ©2014. From SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE | Text © 2014 Mac Barnett, Illustrations © 2014 Jon Klassen | Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Ltd, London SE11 5HJ. www.walker.co.uk

Copyright ©2014. From SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE | Text © 2014 Mac Barnett, Illustrations © 2014 Jon Klassen | Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Ltd, London SE11 5HJ. www.walker.co.uk

Copyright ©2014. From SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE | Text © 2014 Mac Barnett, Illustrations © 2014 Jon Klassen | Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Ltd, London SE11 5HJ. www.walker.co.uk

你創作時有什麼特定的習慣嗎?

沒有耶。我喝很多的茶。如果我的作品進入最後階段,而且工作不是太令我暈頭轉向的話,我會邊放電影邊作畫。電影可以是低俗動作片,也可以是我很喜歡的電影。這樣還蠻酷的,因為我會記得我在畫某張圖的時候,正在看什麼電影。

Do you have creative rituals?

Not really. I drink a lot of tea. When I’m into final artwork and the work isn’t so heady I like to put on movies while I do it. I toggle between really bad action movies to ones I really love. It’s neat because you remember what you watched while you were making certain pages.

對一個繪本插畫家來說,擁有什麼技巧是最最重要的?

我喜歡創作故事性的繪本,但是我非常欣賞那些比較夢幻卻仍然結構緊密的作品。我不認為做一個很會說故事的人是最重要的事。我想所有我喜歡的繪本都有個共同的特質,就是你可以感受到作者對這個故事的熱情。我認為讀者—尤其是小孩子們—可以感受到這點,並且對其產生共鳴。這不表示每本書的作者只要有熱情就會是好書,但是所有的好繪本都有這個特質。

What is the most important skill(s) a picture book illustrator should have?

I like to make picture books with a story or a plot, but I admire so much when I see ones are a little dreamier and still hold together. I can’t say that being a really technically good storyteller is THE most important thing. I think the common quality to all the picture books I’ve liked is that you can tell whoever made it had a crush on the idea. I think audiences—especially kids—can sense that and respond to that. It doesn’t mean that every book the author had an affection for is going to be good, but I think all the good ones are like that.

目前有什麼新的創作計劃可以跟我們分享?

目前我正在進行第三本自己圖文包辦的繪本,風格跟前兩本一樣。我也正在幫一本很酷的小說繪製插畫,書名是 The Nest  (巢),作者是 Kenneth Oppel  (加拿大名作家) ,這本書會在今年秋天出版。

Any new projects you are working on now that you can tell us about?

I’m working on a third picture book of my own that is in the same vein as the first two, and I’m doing some illustration work for a really cool novel called The Nest written by Ken Oppel that will be out in the fall.

你想給新手插畫家什麼建議?

我覺得就是要忠於故事。你的創作決定,必須建構在如何更清晰有力說出你想傳達的訊息。你的工作並非去掌握你的風格、媒材、顏色等等,因為這些都已被內化,終究會透過你的創作表現出來。最糟糕的就是只為了表現某種風格而創作;然而如果你的創作決定是基於傳達必要的故事訊息,那麼即使時下流行的風格改變了,你的故事還是可以繼續流傳下去。

Any advice you’d like to share with emerging illustrators?

I’d say just follow the story. Make your decisions for things based on what’s going to service and strengthen the information you want to get across. Your style and your mediums and your colors and all of that will come through regardless because it’s built into you and it’s not really your job to keep track of what it’s doing. There’s nothing worse than having to defend a decision you made just on stylistic grounds, but if you base decisions on what needs to be communicated, you usually get your way, and the story will hold water long after the trends have changed.


延伸閱讀

  • Amazon專訪Jon Klassen

(協力翻譯|Anais Lee & Alice Chiang)