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Behind the Book: Afraid of the Light

last updated 27 April 2021

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April has not only bloomed all things spring, but has triggered the beginning of re-entering the world after a year of holing up in our respective caves. We thought there was no better book to celebrate this month than Afraid of the Light (Bala Kids), a story we all (no matter how old) can resonate with as welcome change comes to the surface. We had the opportunity to chat with Bright Artist Flavia Sorrentino about her process in illustrating this book, and personal fears she has overcome. We hope you enjoy, and are inspired to get out of your comfort zone this spring!

Afraid of the Light is all about overcoming fears and trying something new. How did you capture these lessons and the emotions that come with them in your illustrations?

When I start something new there is always enthusiasm mixed with fear. I always feel this way when starting a new book even though I have been illustrating for years. Each book is a new adventure with new destinations and fresh adventures. In this case, illustrating a title about fear was very helpful and powerful. In light of the pandemic I felt hope as Ditter Von Dapp (the main character who is afraid of the light) pushed himself out of isolation and into the world again.

Tell us about some creative details incorporated into this project!

Once we defined Von Dapp’s look, a specific detail I took into account at every stage of the process was constrasting the light and dark. Dark shades of blue for the parts of the story where he was in his cave, and an explosion of colors for when he finally overcame his fear of the light.

Interiors / Exteriors

Sketches and Interiors from Afraid of the Light

What message do you hope readers receive when reading this book and looking through your art? Do you have any fears of your own that you have had to overcome?

I hope throughout the book, readers can resonate with Von Dapp’s growth as he becomes more aware of the changes he should make in his life. His fear of something, limited all of the possibilities. Art has given me the strength to dare, to go beyond the fear of never being enough or making mistakes. Though it may take time, art causes one to move past any block or fear.


Cover of Afraid of the Light

What does being a part of an agency mean to you? How has Bright shaped you into a stronger illustrator?

Bright has a team of wonderful agents that have helped and supported my work, and given me the opportunity to work with highly respected publishers. They patiently listen to my requests and help me understand even when I start to doubt. I am very happy to be part of Bright!

Thank you for reading April’s Behind the Book blog! If you are interested in learning more about how you can work with Flavia click here. Miss last month’s Behind the Book? Read all about Doggo and Pupper here!

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