Hélène Magisson Illustrates Little Puggle's Song

September 17th, 2019
See the award-winning Hélène Magisson at work in this beautiful illustration video and learn all about her work process behind Little Puggle's Song by Vikki Conley.


The story of Little Puggle Song by Vikki Conley immediately appealed to me for its poetry and charm. It takes place in the Australian bush and I remember very well my first impressions when I discovered this amazing wildlife for the first time 8 years ago. I had been really touched by the wonders of the Australian bush. The nature here has a simple and powerful beauty and I hope I have been able to pass this feeling on through my illustrations.



Although Echidnas are adorable little creatures, my biggest challenge for this project was to make Puggle alive, for echidnas are very shy and discreet. We do not often have the opportunity to observe them.

Since I have lived in Australia, I have only seen one echidna in the wild, but it was so shy that it burrowed under a pile of leaves deciding not to talk to me. It just did not want to!

As I do not like to draw from pictures (I feel it does not bring the characters alive enough), I had to find videos to observe how echidnas move, live. And only then could I start the sketches.



I used the same approach for the other creatures present in the book that are not so easy to see in the wild like emus or cassowaries.




Little Puggle, as Vikki Conley describes him, is sensitive and a little bit reserved, but he is also very determined to find his place. Also, most of the other animals in the text have strong personalities. So I needed to create a little companion to support and encourage Little Puggle. This is the little caterpillar’s duty whom we can follow all through the book.

Then I had to do the roughs for all the internals. For me, this is the most exciting and creative step. It requires a lot of research and imagination. I like to tell through my illustrations what is not mentioned in the text, to sometimes be between the lines and to leave space to the reader’s imagination.

Like in this illustration where the text tells that all the animals contributed to the decoration. I chose to show them asleep after a long day of labour.



I also try to imagine how my characters feel and the emotion generated by the text. I translate this feeling, not only through the expressions and the body language, but also through the atmosphere that we can create thanks to the tones, the compositions, and where the character is located on the page.


In this illustration for example, I chose a close up on Puggle to emphasise the way he perceives the magic of all the other animals’ song. It really had to be warm and magical here.

For this project I used watercolour, gouache and pastel pencils on hot pressed paper.



I hope Little Puggle's Song will touch the hearts of many children and that Little Puggle will encourage them to follow their dreams and find their own place in the world.

Little Puggle's Song

A lonely echidna searches for his voice. Every time Puggle tries to make sound nothing comes out. Can Puggle find his voice and join the bush choir?

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Comments (1)

Dorothée CARETTE - September 29th, 2019 10:34am
Oh Helene,
what poetry, what nice, wonderful drawings you do.
I'm very impatient to see the book !
What are the title and editor, so as I can buy it.. ?
Kisses from France my talentuous little cousin
and also for all your family !
Dorothee


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