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Mique Moriuchi ...Interview
by Aileen Fisher(1906-2002)
Mique Moriuchi, Illustrator

The Story Goes On

In this exquisitely illustrated picture book, one of America's foremost poets for young people describes the ongoing cycle of life. A seed sprouts and is quickly devoured by a bug. Then a bright green frog appears and makes a meal of the bug. And the story goes on...from bug to snake to hawk to hunter...until a seed begins to sprout. This wonderful poem deftly deals with a sensitive subject and is inventively illustrated by a prodigiously talented young artist.
Ages: 4-8

ETC: Why did you decide to start illustrating children's books?

MIQUE MORIUCHI: Mique Moriuchi I'd say it was a natural progression, stemmed from my love of books, pictures and childish and childlike things. I've always loved books, ever since I was little. I remember the little holes in The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I loved the Ladybird book classics, like Aesop's Fables, The Emperor's New Clothes, Cinderella, The Elves and The Shoemaker, The Princess and The Frog etc, and I was fascinated by the pictures. I became quite obsessed with Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh. Many of these books I read as a child, I still have today. They're old and worn, covered in doodles and scribbles and falling apart, but I treasure them as they contain so many memories from my childhood. It's amazing how I can still remember the way certain pictures made me feel. It's like a direct connection to me when I was a little girl.

ETC: What did you do before you illustrated children's books?

MIQUE MORIUCHI: I had many pretend jobs before becoming a children's book illustrator, which included making and delivering sandwiches, washing dishes, cutting cheese and hams, waitressing, and selling calendars. My most fun pretend job was working as a TV extra, where I convincingly played the part of a Japanese tourist in a famous fast-food chain advert, and a Japanese au pair in a British TV drama called "The Last Detective". Today I can proudly call myself a full-time freelance illustrator, which makes me very happy.

ETC: Why did you choose to illustrate this book in collage. Did you use a particular type of creative process that brought you to the end result?

MIQUE MORIUCHI: I started experimenting with painting and collage towards the end of my BA course, and I've loved it ever since. Paint alone always looks flat and empty to me- maybe that's just because I can't paint very well -- so I cheat by sticking lots of things down and painting on top. It's a good way to build up textures, layers and a bit of depth. My indecisive nature plays a big part in creating these layers, as I change my mind over colors and compositions countless times, painting and sticking on top over and over again. It's a lot of fun and I usually make it up as I go along.

ETC: The Story Goes On deals with some sensitive issues surrounding the cycle of life. Did you experience any difficulty presenting this subject matter in a way kids would understand but not be frightened?

MIQUE MORIUCHI: I guess it could have been quite a gruesome little book, but I believe the rhythm, rhyme and language of the text keep it fun and entertaining. I just made sure I showed no blood, sharp teeth or wounds and kept the faces friendly and smiley. I made the faces of the dead look peaceful and painless. I wanted to make it a little comical, fun and animated in parts, like the frog sequence. I also wanted to show the delight and enjoyment of being presented with a yummy meal - something we can all relate to.

ETC: What do you hope children will learn from The Story Goes On?

MIQUE MORIUCHI: The basic principles of life in nature-life, death and food. You either hunt for it or become it.

ETC: Are you planning on illustrating any more children's books?

MIQUE MORIUCHI: Since The Story Goes On, I have illustrated 2 picture books: Talk Peace by Sam Williams (Hodder Children's books) and I'll See You In The Morning by Mike Jolley (Templar Publishing). Both books should be published in the UK Spring 2005 - it's all very exciting! I plan to carry on illustrating children's books for a long long time. It's something that I love.

P.S. if anyone has any ideas or texts, I'm always looking for people to work with!