Sustenance in Solitude

Artist Taltal Levi takes us behind the scenes of her picture book Meet Me By The Sea

Taltal Levi was born in the Galilee, Israel. She graduated from Lucerne University of Arts and Design with a degree in illustration, and currently works and lives in Basel, Switzerland. From a young age she used drawing as a tool to liberate herself from reality’s hardship and dullness. Taltal loves telling stories about characters who embrace their vulnerabilities and overcome obstacles. Her narratives incorporate fantasy elements and draw inspiration from nature, animals and her own childhood memories. In this interview, she discusses her most recent picture book, Meet Me By The Sea.

What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading your book? 

I hope that readers could see that it’s ok to take some time off to process their emotions. Personally, if I am down, going out to nature makes me feel like I am a part of something whole and big, which puts things in perspective. 

Did you have a favorite go-to place as a child and do you have one now?

Living in Israel, my parents used to take us to the sea very often in my childhood, almost every weekend. I especially love the sea in winter, when the waves are wild and loud and the wind blows your hair in all directions. The landscape in ‘Meet Me By The Sea’ was specifically inspired by a trip to the coast of Wales and Scotland which had a positive impact on me.

Why did you choose the fox as the child’s companion?

I have always loved foxes and their mysterious, sly quality. It seemed like a perfect match for this story. 

What coloring technique did you use and why?

I used a layering technique with my watercolors. It is when you paint a surface or an area on the paper, let in dry and then pain over it again using the same color or a new one. Because watercolor is transparent it allows you to see through the layers which creates depth and new shades of colors. This medium is great for evoking atmosphere and emotion, which in the case of this book is very front-and-center.

The graceful curves of trees waving in the wind, the gold of the grass, and the russet of the fox testify to ways that solitude can give sustenance when people can’t, and offers refuge until they can.

Publishers Weekly, on Meet Me By The Sea

Please tell us about the creative process behind the book.

The storyboard for this book was created as a University project, where we had to tell a story without words using 24 black and white drawings. The idea for it came to me, as if it was always there and I just had to look in the right place to find it. After signing the publishing contract I recreated the entire book this time with color and the addition of text.

2020 – Shortlisted – AOI – World Illustration Awards Showcase
2020 – Merit Recognition – 3×3 Magazine – Professional Illustration Show No.17

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