從小的夢想是成為插畫家,卻因為教授的一句話,讓羅傑・梅德(Roger Mader)的夢想延遲了四十年才實現。但是他沒有讓這些年的生命白費,工作之餘還是不斷地畫畫自學;而他從事廣告創意的經驗,最後也成為創作繪本的養分。只要心裡熱情的火不熄滅,實現夢想永遠不嫌晚!

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請跟我們說說你自己。你是如何成為繪本作者和插畫家?曾經受過任何藝術方面的訓練嗎?在成為插畫家以前,從事什麼工作?

這是非常有趣的問題。當我還是小孩子的時候,我一天到晚都在畫圖,我愛畫畫。到了高中,我已經號稱是我們學校的藝術家,我的夢想是成為插畫家。很幸運地,我進入了美國最棒的藝術學校之一的普瑞特藝術學院就讀。在完成第一年的基礎課程之後,我們要選擇接下來三年的主修科目,插畫當然是我的選擇,但是我的指導教授告訴我,插畫將死,因為在未來將會被攝影取代。因此我選擇了主修廣告設計。

那個決定讓我走上四十年的廣告事業生涯,我加入了Young and Rubicam廣告公司,擔任助理藝術指導,並且在接下來的十三年,都在麥迪遜大道285號度過。是的,那是《廣告狂人》的年代,但正如我的一位朋友所說:「我一定是走錯樓層了。」後來我加入了該公司的國際分部擔任創意總監,工作的地點包括了法蘭克福、巴黎、墨西哥市、布魯塞爾、多倫多。在退休前,又再度到巴黎待了五年。我幾乎在歐洲每個城市都工作過,和數百位有趣的人相遇和共事,這是獲益良多的經驗。

在那些年我成為了一位業餘畫家,由於我錯過了在普瑞特的繪畫訓練,我的繪畫技巧都是靠著自學而來。

退休之後,我以為我終於有時間來畫畫了,但受到朋友影響,我卻對蝕刻版畫產生興趣,因此我到巴黎一所學校學了兩年的蝕刻版畫。我蠻喜歡的,於是買了一套專業的版畫機,花了六年時間從事蝕刻版畫創作。我從未試著在畫廊展出,只是把版畫作品都送給了朋友們。

大約在五年前,我動了一個換膝手術,醫生要我在巴黎做復健。我們住在諾曼地,於是我和太太到巴黎租了一間公寓,在那待了六個星期。我一週只有三天需要做復健,餘下的有大把的時間。為了打發時間,我寫了一本童書《意外的聖誕節》。回到家後,我做了一本粗略的書樣投稿到出版社,但乏人問津。

我倒是寫出興趣來了,於是又寫了另一個故事《Cookie Plays Hooky》,這回我完成了所有的插圖之後才做成書樣,並且因此簽下了一位經紀人。

這個故事雖然還是沒有得到出版機會,但是卻有一件奇妙的事發生。有天一隻瘦骨如柴的貓咪跑來我家,而且堅持留下來跟我們一起生活。她領養了我們。在Cookie書中我曾畫了一隻貓,我跟我的經紀人說,現在我可以把貓畫得更好了,因為我養貓了。她說:「何不寫一個跟貓有關的故事呢?」

我從未養過貓,也沒想過要養貓,因此我對貓所知道的,只有這隻走失的貓的故事。於是我寫了”Lost Cat”,並製作成書樣。我的經紀人幫我提案給Kate O’Sullivan,結果她買下了這個故事。我的童年夢想實現了,我成了一位插畫家。

Please tell us about yourself. How did you come to where you are as a picture book author and illustrator? Have you had any art training? What did you do before you became an illustrator?

That’s a very interesting question. When I was a child I was drawing all the time, I loved to draw. By the time I got to high school I was considered the school artist and my dream was to someday become an illustrator. I was fortunate enough to go to Pratt Institute one of the best art schools in the country. After the first foundation year we were to choose a speciality for the remaining three years of study. I was of course going to select illustration but my advisor told me that illustration was a dying field because in the future everything would be done with photography. So I specialized in advertising design.

That decision led to a forty year career in advertising. I joined Young and Rubicam Advertising as an assistant art director and worked at 285 Madison Avenue for the next thirteen years. Yes, they were the years of “Mad Men” but as a friend of mine said, “I must have been on the wrong floor.” I then joined the international wing of the company and served as creative director in Frankfurt, Paris, Mexico City, Brussels, Toronto and then a second five years stint in Paris before retiring. I have worked in almost every country in Europe and met and worked with hundreds of interesting people, a very rewarding experience.

During these years I became a weekend painter and since I missed out on the painting training at Pratt, I taught myself to paint.

When I retired I thought I would finally have time to paint but through friends I got interested in etching. So I went to a school in Paris for two years and learned to be an etcher. I loved it, bought a professional press and I made etchings for about six years. I never did try to find a gallery to represent my work, I just gave my etchings to friends.

About five years ago I had knee replacement surgery and my surgeon wanted me to do the rehab in Paris. We live in Normandy so my wife and I rented an apartment in Paris for six weeks. The rehab was only three days a week so I had a lot of time on my hands. To fill the time, I sat down and wrote a children’s book, “Accidental Christmas.” When I returned home I made a rough dummy of it and tried without success to get it published.

I had been bitten by the bug and wrote another story, “Cookie Plays Hooky.” This time I made the dummy with finished illustrations and it led to getting an agent.

Cookie was never sold to a publisher but an interesting thing happened. A little scrawny cat came to our door and insisted on living with us. She adopted us. In Cookie there was a scene with a cat and I told my agent that I could now make a better illustration of a cat because we had a cat at home. She said, “Why not write a story about a cat?”

I had never had a cat and never had an interest having one so the only thing I knew about cats was this story of a cat that got lost. So I wrote and made a dummy for “Lost Cat” My agent sent it to Kate O’Sullivan who bought it and that’s when my childhood dream came true. I became an illustrator.

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你的插畫好美。你是用什麼媒材創作的?可以分享你的創作過程嗎?

當我還只是個業餘畫家,我都是畫油畫,因為那是唯一讓我得心應手的材料,”Cookie”這本書的書樣就是以油彩創作的。

但說不上來為什麼,我不是很喜歡油畫。當我在製作《Lost Cat》的樣書時,外層的書封也是用油彩畫的。不過在HMH買下這本書版權後,我又用粉彩重新畫過,視覺效果更加柔和有親和力。自此之後粉彩就成為我的主要媒材。

在進行插畫完稿時,我試著用不同的角度來看這本書,或許可以找到一個新的視角或是比原本的書樣更好的構圖。

然後完稿的畫面會先在我的腦海裡成形,接下來就是將腦子裡的畫面呈現在紙張上。我花很多時間在構圖和素描線稿,因為如果線稿沒有畫好,彩稿就會失敗。在將線稿轉印到紙張上之後,首先用粉彩條在主要的區域畫上色塊,圖畫透過色塊成形,然後我再用粉彩鉛筆畫上細節,以達到我的寫實風效果。

當插畫都塗滿之後,我會再回頭利用上光的手法,一層一層添加並調整顏色。

Your illustrations are so beautiful. What is your creative process like? What is your medium?

When I was a weekend painter my medium was oil paint. As it was the only medium I was comfortable with I used oil to make the dummy for “Cookie.”

There was something I didn’t like but I could not put my finger on it. When I made the dummy for “Lost Cat” I made the jacket illustration in oil but after it was bought by HMH I did it again in pastels and I much preferred the results. It was the first time I used pastels and it turned out to be softer and friendlier. So pastels became my medium from then on.

When approaching a finished illustration, I try to change from the person who made the dummy to see if I can look at the task with a fresh point of view. Perhaps I can find an angle or composition that will be better than that of the dummy.

Then the final illustration starts to form in my mind and my task is to create that image on paper. I spend a lot of time on the composition and the drawing because if the drawing is not sound the painting will be a failure. After that I transfer the drawing to the paper and with pastel sticks block in the major areas of the painting. The drawing shows through these large areas of color. I then switch to pastel pencils because as my style is rather realistic I can delineate the details better.

When the illustration is completely covered, I go back over it adjusting the colors by glazing color over color.

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《屋頂上的貓》草圖

《屋頂上的貓》草圖

《屋頂上的貓》草圖

《屋頂上的貓》草圖

《屋頂上的貓》草圖

《屋頂上的貓》草圖

《屋頂上的貓》草圖

《屋頂上的貓》草圖

《屋頂上的貓》草圖

《屋頂上的貓》草圖

可以給我們看你的草圖和畫畫工具嗎?你的工作室是什麼樣子?

我的工作室是在一個改建的老穀倉頂樓,有充足的光線和兩個水槽,它是由一半電力一半循環的熱水來加熱取暖,這種建築的風格稱為colombage。在歐洲某些地區可以看到這種半木造的建築,在法國則只有諾曼地才有。(請見下圖)

Can you also show us some of your sketches and art tools? What does your studio look like?

I had the top floor of an old barn rebuilt as a studio with lots of light and two sinks. It is heated half by electricity and half by circulating hot water. The style of architecture is called colombage. It’s a half-timbered look that is found in some parts of Europe. In France it is only found in Normandy.

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《屋頂上的貓》插畫的構圖和視角非常有趣,背後有什麼樣的創作概念嗎?

我沒法告訴你為什麼這樣畫,總之它就是發生了。我知道我要說的故事是什麼,我覺得說這個故事最好的方法,就是切成許多小畫面,並穿插一些令人震撼的大畫面。如果沒有多年拍攝廣告片的腳本經驗,我做不出這樣的效果,我曾經畫過數百套分鏡腳本,因此這樣的說故事方式對我來說很容易。我希望《屋頂上的貓》可以透過腳本的形式,帶領讀者去經驗動感。

The layout and perspective in “Tiptop Cat” are very interesting. What is the concept behind it?

I cannot tell you why I did what I did, it just happened. I knew the story I wanted to tell and I felt the best way to tell it was with many small pictures broken up by some shocking big ones. I know I could not have done it without my many years making storyboards that plan for a commercial to be shot. I have made hundreds of storyboards so that kind of story telling is very easy for me. To tell the story of Tiptop I wanted the reader to experience the action through the storyboard form.

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你有什麼描繪貓咪動作和表情的秘訣嗎?

我利用大量的照片來參考貓的身體構造和姿態,而表情部分則是自由發揮,我的卡通畫技巧在這裡就派上了用場。我通常把貓的眼睛畫得比較圓,訣竅是去調整貓咪額頭上的線條來製造表情。我想要的效果是帶點卡通味道的寫實。

Do you have any tips on how to catch a cat’s expression and movement in drawings?

I use a lot of photography as a guide for the correct anatomy and attitude of the cat but I take great liberties with the expression. This is where my ability as a cartoonist helps. I often make the eyes a bit rounder than a cat’s eyes. One little trick I used in the books featuring Slipper is adjusting the markings on the forehead of the cat to create the expression. I hope is to end up with a slightly cartoon-like realism.

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聽說你家裡也有一隻狗?是否計劃未來也創作一本以狗為主角的書?

很抱歉我沒有養狗。我曾經畫過一個傑克羅素梗犬的故事,不過沒有出版。現在正在創作另外一本。

I heard that you also have a dog in your family. Are you planning to make a dog book in the future?

I’m sorry I do not have a dog. I have done one story with a dog, a Jack Russell, but it was not bought. I am now working on another one.

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Roger Mader與他的貓Pete

如果讀者想要瞭解更多關於你的事,他們可以在網路上找到你嗎?

我沒有網站,這方面我很落後。我女兒說要幫我設一個臉書粉絲頁,不過還沒實現。以前我在做蝕刻版畫時,曾經將作品發表在artID這個網站上。

If readers would like to know more about you, where can they find you online?

I am way behind the times and am not online. One of my daughters recently said she was going to make a Facebook page for me but it has not yet happened. When I was etching I did put some etchings on a site called artID.

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哪裡買

《屋頂上的貓》––>博客來網路書店

Tiptop Cat》––>Amazon.com