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Interview with Dom Rodi, the illustrator of Too Tall Alice

Tell us about yourself first

Well, my full name is Domenico (both my parents are Italian), and I was actually born in beautiful Wales. From there, we moved to Wolverhampton in central England, and it was there that I attended school before being accepted by the University of Wolverhampton where I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design.

I began my career in London, working initially in advertising before going into publishing. I started as a senior designer with Granada Publishing eventually becoming Art Director of Star Books -W. H. Allen and then Sphere Books.
In 1979, I crossed over to the other side by joining Artist Partners, a leading London illustrators agency, as their managing director. Over a span of 17 years, we established the agency as the foremost supplier of illustration to British publishing, and it was during this time that I held portfolio seminars for illustration students, lectured in graphics and illustration at various art colleges and was asked to judge many of the professional and student illustrator showcases that were held annually.

After marrying a beautiful and wonderful American girl, Jan, we moved to Florida in 2000, and I began a freelance design business as well as developing my own distinctive art, which until Too Tall Alice came to life, has been very graphic, produced digitally from the starting point of my own photographs.

At the moment I still live in sunny Florida, I have three grown-up children who live in Scotland and two who live in America, two grandsons and a talking cat, Taffy, who is slowly driving me.

When did you start illustrating?

After my life-long friend, Barbara, asked me to illustrate Too Tall Alice, and only after creating her image did I truly begin illustrating children s books. Prior to that moment the nearest Id gotten to illustration was representing illustrators as an agent and pursuing my own doodling on everything but the kitchen sink!

What inspired you to illustrate this book?

Barbara s beautiful, descriptive, imaginative words, the meaning underlying those words and the creative support that Barbara gave me from beginning to end.

How long did it take you to complete the book?

Overall, the entire project took a period of about eight months, divided between producing visuals for approval, actually illustrating and finally producing the design and final press artwork. The illustrations themselves took about two months to complete.

Who is the publisher of the book?

Great Little Books, LLC, a new independent publisher based in New Jersey, and one that has a growing reputation for quality books.

Where is it on sale?

Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, quality bookstores, and www.greatlittlebooksllc.com.

Tell us about your other books?

Two projects in the works right now, but nothing we re ready to talk about.

What are the major challenges that you have faced in your career?

I have been incredibly blessed to have had three separate careers, as an Art Director in Publishing, as the CEO of a major illustration agency and as a freelance designer. While there have been many challenges along the way, two in particular stand out. One is the challenge of developing the careers of 70 freelance illustrators year after year, and more recently the challenge of justifying my commitment to my own digital art in an art world that turns a skeptical eye to work produced utilizing modern technology.

Has the Internet helped you in your art career?

The simple answer to that is yes! My art can be viewed on www.domrodi.com, my design portfolio has been sent across the world and through the massive array of communication software I am able to work with people anywhere in the world and all this is possible from my studio. How great is that?

What do you advise new illustrators to do?

No matter what technique you evolve, draw, draw, draw! It is a foundation that will last you a lifetime.

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