BEHIND THE BOOK: RAINBOW: A FIRST BOOK OF PRIDE
last updated 19 June 2019
Happy 50th anniversary of LGBTQ+ Pride Month! In recognition of the 1969 Stonewall riots, joyous celebrations ring around the world during the month of June to recognize the impact of the LGBTQ+ community. Inclusive children’s books are incredibly important in that they have the power to be a reflection of a child’s own identity and experiences—granting the young reader a chance to see themselves and the world they live in on the page. Illustrated by Anne Passchier, Rainbow: A First Book of Pride celebrates pride in a colorful reveal of the meaning behind each stripe of the rainbow flag. We thought it was the perfect time to catch up with Anne on the magic behind the page!
RAINBOW: A FIRST BOOK OF PRIDE has been celebrated by readers and reviewers as a joyous tribute to LGBTQ+ families, earning rave reviews in School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Book Riot (just to name a few!) As a topic so close to your heart, can you tell us more about what it was like to be a part of the making of this book?
I was really excited when this project came my way! Being part of the LGBTQ+ community myself, I think it’s really important for young kids to see themselves and their families represented in books and other media. The goal was to give children a first introduction to the history of the rainbow flag and to illustrate the diversity and love of LGBTQ+ families through fun and colorful scenes.
Each spread is bold, graphic, and wonderfully colorful, depicting children and parents of all backgrounds in a simple yet powerful way. We’d love to hear more on the creative decisions that went into each page!
The primary emphasis of each spread really had to be on the main color it represents—that’s where the graphic and bold approach originated from. The scenes themselves are linked to the meaning of each color and were decided on in collaboration with the publisher and author. I was given a lot of freedom in interpreting the layouts of the scenes, which was super fun!
Progression from sketch to final spread
The most important aspect was to carry across the idea that each color represents a value historically attributed to it by the flag’s creator, Gilbert Baker: life, healing, sunshine, nature, harmony, and spirit. Each spread shows how these values could be reflected in the everyday lives of loving and diverse families.
The book reveals the colorful meaning behind each rainbow stripe.
When did art begin to play a major role in your life? Did you know you wanted to be an illustrator from an early age?
I loved drawing from a young age, and I knew I wanted to do something creative, but I didn’t realize I wanted to be an illustrator until I started attending art school. I was given more access to information about what it meant to be an illustrator and what all the possibilities were in terms of a career path. I found I was interested in many different aspects, from illustrating children’s books to designing greetings cards and gift wrap, and I’m very lucky that I have been able to work in many different fields!
Final interior spread from RAINBOW
You also run a popular Instagram page called Andyrogyny, where you make comics about your own experience as a trans non-binary artist. Can you tell us more about that project?
The project started a little less than a year ago. I officially came out as non-binary at the beginning of 2015, and it had taken me a few years to fully figure out and come to terms with that identity. Having an online community and resources I could easily access was a very important part of this journey for me, and I decided I wanted to contribute to this by creating my own content. Hopefully people can relate to the pieces and comics and find some comfort in our shared experiences, and I always want people to feel welcome to reach out to me with any questions or comments.
See more on Instagram @andyrogyny
Where do you go to create your best work and where do you look to for inspiration?
I’m very boring in that I love to just be at home and I often do my best work alone in the evenings. Having lived close to bigger cities the past few years, I get a lot of inspiration from local shows and galleries, as well as book shops, toy stores, café’s (especially the cat cafés) and from attending events aimed at the LGBTQ+ community.
Anne’s home workspace
How has joining Bright helped develop your career as an illustrator, and what exciting projects are ahead?
I started taking on freelance projects while I was still working full-time as an in-house designer at a company, and I didn’t have the time or resources to promote myself to clients outside of work. Bright has been a monumental help in kickstarting my freelance career and connecting me with fun and unique projects. One of my other favorites has been another project with Magination press, titled ‘Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You’. I have Bright to thank for the majority of the great opportunities I’ve had, and I hope to embark on many more fun adventures this way!
Final interior spread from RAINBOW
View Anne’s full portfolio here.