What other Barber can do his work from the top of a spiral staircase?
Children's Author, Dan Raphael loves stories. In this children's story, Francois, a peculiar blue character, decides he will prove to the world that he is the worlds greatest barber. How will he do this? He will perform every haircut from the top of a spiral staircase.
Read the press release about Francois The Barber.
Dan Raphael (a children's author) is a Minnesota born artist and writer. He has been an avid oil painter of over 30 years. which he has used during his long bouts of writer's block. Self-taught, and inquisitive, His thinking has kept him out of the box, busily self-actualized. His background is in recovering a sense of self and making sense of the world around him. In his art and life pursuits, he is always looking for sources of inspiration, be it in culture or traveling with an appreciation for the world.
"Francois the Barber" was 3 years in the making. Some of the pages have thousands of layers. It was hand-illustrated in a specific style and written as Author Dan Raphael dreamt it up. The interview questions below answer some of the questions that are being asked.
Do you have questions about the book? I'd love to answer them.
Answer. It is difficult to say where it began, but I have always enjoyed words and storytelling. Spinning a tale didn’t seem to be outside of my nature. The painting was a great outlet, and years ago when I first worked on this story, I was deeply immersed in watercolor. No pun intended.
I thought I would do diorama styled visuals crossing watercolor backgrounds with clay forms that wandered in front of the stage-scapes. This would tie in with my existing skills in the watercolor medium and adding something new to something familiar.
A few friends were versed in digital imagery and through their encouragement, I began to dabble in vector style imagery. My goal was to step out of my comfort zone to see what would happen.
Francois was originally a simple figure fashioned out of clay. So when I translated him into the style that would eventually become the book. He stayed kindred to the prototype I created of him. He, fashioned out of clay, sat on my desk as I began to weave the tale that became the book Francois the Barber.
Answer. To be honest, I had no template in mind when I began to write the book. I was simply led along. As a child, I enjoyed learning new words. My mother would always share the wordplays from the newspaper and Readers Digest, so learning new words was always fun for me. Using them playfully seemed to be of interest early on. As though I enjoyed the cadence of them when certain word groups would be said together. Not poetry, but musical prose. The book felt like a great outlet for that. I just wanted to play. The book invites you into my world sandbox.
Answer. I was not afraid to step away from something familiar. I fell as though throughout my life, there have always been opportunities to change the automated behavior, or at least try to. It is very difficult to do something different when the original path becomes familiar and comfortable. I was going through a lot of changes in my life at the time, and it felt appropriate to immerse my mind is a project all new. Perhaps it was a symbol of my catharsis.
Answer. It was fascinating and complicated. Each shape, line, and the color is a separate item. Layered like cut paper. There are pages in the story that has over a thousand shapes layered on them. It felt like an adventure in exploring how much layering and sense of 3-d could be put into a book laden with flat images. Once I got started, it was Its own fun rabbit hole adventure. It certainly occupied my mind for a good few years.
Answer. The time of inception of the book, up until the completion is hard to say. I do know, once I resolved to write the book after the idea had germinated for easily 1 to 2 years, it took two and a half years to write and illustrate. I wrote the story as I went along. I remember the day I completed it. It was like my legs were made of jelly. I was afraid I would cross the street and get hit by a bus. It was that daunting.
Answer. I felt like it was a telling somewhere along the lines of the emperor's new clothes. Or southing that turns out to be different in the end. Life seems to be like that all the time, yet life lessons always tell us to keep on striving. It is a preposterous tale but has a far-reaching message. I hope it can communicate that when it is done. Maybe a story that leaves more questions than answers is better than a simple ending.
We shall see.