Robin Muller was born on October 30, 1953 in Toronto, Ontario, where he was raised and educated. He was an enterprising child who began his own small publishing house at the age of eight. His passion for storytelling continued into high school where he started a second, competing school paper named Exodus. Muller's paper featured creative writing by students including short stories, poetry, book reviews and paid advertising. Muller left high school at sixteen to make his living as an artist, in the Yorkville section of downtown Toronto. Muller enjoyed the six years he spent painting because "Art is self-indulgent as opposed to publishing books. Only one person has to buy a painting for it to be successful". (Writing Stories, Making Pictures, 234) Gradually, his interest in the fine arts waned and Robin Muller began looking for a new creative outlet. With his interest in narrative revived, he sought out a medium where he could marry his storytelling and illustrating abilities.
Muller's interest in children's books began in his teens, when he worked in a publisher's warehouse. He found the children's books so fascinating that he decided to try to write and illustrate his own book. However, his first book, Rupert's Star, was rejected by every publisher he sent it to. Disappointed by the publishers' responses, Muller waited ten years before he attempted another book. Muller was twenty-nine when his second book The Sorcerer's Apprentice, appeared in bookstores.
Muller now works in a small room with a window that provides a pleasant view of trees. When working on a book he uses pencils, printing his words as opposed to writing them out. Muller also chooses to put his ideas down in bound notebooks instead of loose-leaf paper. He prefers to write and illustrate his own books giving him complete creative control. Writing and illustrating his own books results in ten to twelve hour days for Muller. Even at this rapid pace, a book can take up to a year to complete. A new project becomes all consuming for this talented artist, making it difficult for him to concentrate on anything else until the book is complete.
The magic realism of Robin Muller's painting is assisted by his unconventional choice of instruments:
The book The Magic Paintbrush is dedicated to my brother Lawrence because he gave me my first paintbrush, but the brush I used to make the illustrations for the book wasn't a paintbrush, it was a toothbrush.
Muller first dips the toothbrush into paint or ink, then pointing it down towards the page he drags a knife across the bristles. This technique creates a fine spray of ink or paint. Muller then scrapes away the excess to make the pictures lighter or he adds more to create darker illustrations. Muller enjoyed using the toothbrush so much that he incorporated it into The Magic Paintbrush, "I liked the toothbrush so much that I hid one in the cover illustration. See if you can find it!"
Muller draws on his memories of childhood for inspiration. His ideas are shaped in part by remembering adventure games in cardboard forts and building castles in the ravine by his house. He is also influenced by a strong affection for fairy tales and Greek mythology. He has a keen interest in world folklore from Gaelic to Chinese. Muller is attracted to the organic nature of folklore. As each generation rewrites and reinvents the stories, the folk and fairy tale lore perpetuates but the prevailing culture is imprinted on the narrative. Muller enjoys reconstructing stories that are larger than a single author's narrative. (c) http://www.bookcentre.ca/gg/rmuller.htm
Hickory, Dickory, Dock
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Other Books by Robin Muller:
Mollie Whuppie and the Giant, 1982.
The Socerer's Apprentice, 1985.
The Lucky Old Woman, 1987.
Little Kay, 1988.
The Magic Paintbrush., 1989.
The Nightwood, 1991.
Row, Row, Row, Your Boat, 1993.
Little Wonder, 1994.
The Angel Tree, 1997.
Suzanne is a Montreal Canadian artist who has illustrated beautiful images for story books, has award winning work on display in the Smithsonian, has illustrated many canadian stamps, and is well-known for her photographic work as well.
Born in 1952, Suzanne began her work as a freelance illustrator in the 1970's. She lives in Montreal, Quebec, with her daughter. Visit her website for a portfolio of her work.