We caught up with Patrik Antczak, a creative living in Prague, who we worked with on our book 'Left and Right'. When creating the book art for the title, he literally drew with scissors and arranged the cuts into paper sculptures. His heart beats for paper and here is what he has to say about our collaboration. Enjoy!
1. Can you tell us more about who you are and what you do?
My name is Patrik Antczak and I am from Prague, Czech Republic, where I also live and work. For as long as I can remember, I have always liked art. As a child, I used to draw most of the time. My mom noticed this and was the first one to suggest I focus my studies on art. Thanks to her, I enrolled in the arts high school, followed by a degree at Faculty of Art and Design at Jan Evangelista Purkyne University in the Czech Republic. I majored in graphic design and after an internship in Warsaw, Poland, I decided to focus on illustrations. I ended my degree with a thesis that later served as a base for my first book 'ALFABETA', a series of activities that help children learn alphabet as well as strengthen their imagination, motor skills and independent thinking. I prefer to focus on my own independent projects too, especially those that allow me to work with only paper and pencil.
2. What was it like to work with Eira and the family on Left and Right book?
I had previous experience working with children during presentations and workshops for my book 'ALFABETA'. But there is always something new to learn! It was challenging to exchange notes and ideas as we only talked via Skype. This was especially true for collaborating with Eira. In the end, we managed to accomplish to create something beautiful despite different time zones and long distance calls. It was a fantastic experience which made me grow as an artist. I wish I could have worked with Eira in person on Left and Right.
3. What was your favorite part of the collaborative work process? Were there any challenges?
The whole illustration process was very unique - throughout the whole time of our collaboration, I communicated with Vlada, Muthu, Eira and Emilee only on Skype. At that time, we never met. We had to battle the time difference, languages and culture barriers and occasional disagreements which were a result of never seeing each other outside of the computer screen. To put it simply, sometimes we ended up literally lost in translation. However, a wonderful book came out of our collaboration. The results would not be the same without Stepanka Pasekova, a very detail oriented and patient photographer who captured paper sculptures as they appear in their final form in the book. Sometimes, we would spend all day in the studio, looking for the best angles, lighting and various compositions. I am very happy I was allowed to create something so abstract for a children's book. After the book was published, I finally met the whole family in NYC. It was such a treat to get to know them and spend time with Eira and Emilee.
Right from the beginning, I realized that Vlada and Muthu are not your average publishers. I knew that this collaboration would be exceptional because of their unusual perception of art forms. After submitting the original sketches for the book concept, I was pleasantly surprised that there was room for experimentation. What's more, I could create illustrations in a minimalistic way. I had the opportunity to use and explore my interest in creating with paper.
4. Do you have any news or upcoming projects you’d like to share with us and our readers?
I do! I am actually very happy to share that in February of this year, I opened my own studio in Prague. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, I was not able to use it as much as I would like to but I hope for a bright future once the worst is over. I also want to finish the English version of 'ALFABETA' book this year and publish it via my own publishing company called Rukama. I am looking forward to illustrating a Hebrew children's book called Other Animals. I was nominated for Czech Grand Design Award in the Best Illustrator category again this year for three of my projects - the mural for Jan Evangelista Purkyne University; illustrations for 'The World Atlas of Ghosts and Monsters' book and illustrations for a project Reconstruction of the Country. However, in the light of the COVID-19 outbreak and social distancing, I feel that being in good health and having my family around is the most important thing right now. I hope we can all make it through and come out of the pandemic even stronger. Let's be patient in this together!
Patrik is an illustrator, a graphic designer and a creative freelancer who lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic. His heart beats for paper, but he works with digital technologies as well. His work is characterized by humor and playfulness. Learn more about Patrik and his work on his website and Instagram. This post is part of a series called Behind the Book Art, in which we want to introduce you to the talented community we work with. Click here to see more!