Redwall wouldn’t be quite the same experience without the art that went with it. The nostalgia of leafing through the original copies of the Redwall series is hard to compare—seeing what tiny illustration would accompany each chapter was as much something to look forward to as the text itself. For the first five Redwall books, you’ve got Gary Chalk to thank for that.
Over the last several months, Magnamund has posted a 3-part interview series with Gary Chalk on Youtube, where you’ll find he’s not just a skilled illustrator, but a delightful storyteller. The interviews span his childhood, artistic process, and career. And from what we learn, we can infer what his process of working on the Redwall books might have been like. It’s an honor to see a master talk about his work, and especially fun when Redwall is involved.
Chalk grew up with parents employed in quirky occupations and with sleep schedules that went into the wee hours. He reflects on his time at art school, and how he entered the children’s books illustration industry by knocking on the right door.
At other points, he discusses involvement as an illustrator and playtester for various board games, like Talisman, Battlecars, and the medieval skirmish board game Cry Havoc. And later, in his own collaborative project Lone Wolf with Joe Dever.
Learning the details of his artistic process in part 3, from sketch to realized illustration, is fascinating as well.
Just looking at these Mossflower chapter illustrations, you can almost smell that old-book smell…