We’re loving Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis. In this modern fairy tale, a noble prince and a brave knight come together to defeat a terrible monster and in the process find true love in a most unexpected place. If you haven’t seen this picture book yet, the illustrations are gorgeous, and we’re thrilled to go behind the scenes with illustrator Stevie Lewis! (You can read our Q&A with author Daniel Haack here.)
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be an illustrator?
Although I’ve always doodled on the edges of my notebooks and on napkins and loose papers as a child, I realized I wanted to pursue a career in illustration when I was in 8th grade. I was doodling during a lecture and my history teacher startled me by crumbling up my drawing in front of the class. I wasn’t particularly fascinated by history. In life, people will try to tell you that you won’t be successful, or that you shouldn’t pursue a career because you won’t make much money. But, a part of me wanted to prove that teacher wrong, and follow my dream of doing art for the rest of my life. I wanted to share with others, the joy I felt when illustrating something based on my experiences or on stories I wanted to tell. Working on Prince & Knight
was a reminder that you should be who you want to be, and love what you want to love.
2. How did you come up with the flow of the book?
It was important for the book to feel rich in color and lighting. I spent a while doing color studies trying to find the best way to illustrate the story. For example, I wanted the dragon scenes to be different from the beginning to end. To start, the lighting was partly sunny. But towards the end of the battle it was overcast and the colors were muted and darker. When the Prince and Knight realized their love for each other, the sun shined through and the scene had a warm feeling. It was also important to represent people of different colors and backgrounds, like the knight for example. It was great to be a part of such a special book!
3. Which page from Prince & Knight was your favorite to illustrate and why?
My favorite pages to illustrate were the ones with the prince and his family in the dining room. There are two spreads that serve as a before/after of the king and queen accepting their son’s love for another man.
It was a fun play on lighting and composition, an evening scene with the parents in the shadows on the opposite side of the room, to a morning scene with everyone together on one side.
4. What do you like to do when you’re not illustrating?
In my free time, I live out of my camper van full-time with my partner and our two dogs. We spend most days in the outdoors hiking, climbing and mountain biking. Living simply and on the road allows me to have a flexible schedule and travel at the same time.
5. What was your favorite book to read as a child?
The book that comes to mind is Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard and James Marshall. I loved the storytelling and the twist at the end, and the lovely illustrations.