The award for Best Young Literary Book went to painter Raúl Delio and his Fictional Animals

The six-legged lady, the golden-rimmed frog and the blond octopus. You most likely won’t find animals from Terra Ultima anywhere else. For the book, illustrator Raúl Delio set out on a “journey of discovery” across the mysterious continent. There are sketches of special animals. You might say imaginary animals.

But Delio doesn’t want to hear the word “Fantasia.” Terra Ultima It is as real to him as the rest of the world. “For me it is reality. I am really going on an expedition. I am really amazed at what I have come across. For me, the story does not stop at the edges of the drawing.” On Saturday he was awarded the Woutertje Pieterse, also known as the “PC Hooft Prize for Children’s Literature”, for the fallout from his own expedition.

Statue of Raúl Delio

Two facts in one animal

On the cover of the book is the name of the co-author, Noah J. Stern. There is little dubious information about him, but according to the painter, he really is. He believes that we should not hastily write off everything as fiction. “There are facts that are not mutually exclusive and can coexist.” His Penguilagus Pseudopticus, for example: a rabbit with a penguin’s beak for two ears. “This is an example of how two facts come together in one animal.”

We already know what we know, and the rest is exactly what fascinates Delio. “When I was born, the globe seemed huge. Technology and science have now developed in such a way that humanity feels pretty much everything ‘knows’. That there are only new things to explore in detail. But of course this world is still a huge thing, not to mention the universe of about it. There’s still an incredible amount we don’t know, which I find reassuring.”

He does not have a favorite animal. It took him years to work on all the animals. “It gives me a bond with everyone. When I draw an animal, I get very close and it feels like I am holding it in pencil.” He tries to capture the beauty and “magnificence” of animals as accurately as possible. How does the ear connect to the head, how is the eye in the eye socket. The details make me incredibly happy.”

There are no possibilities for photography in Terra Ultima Something with solar cells and batteries failing. But it’s not that bad. Because: “This is how you take a picture. The drawing contains time, attention and decision-making. For example, I can determine the ideal pose of an animal, in which all the features and details of the character appear. ”

In this way, the drawing can be more representative of reality than the image. She is more personal. “You become an instrument of yourself, you are a part of your creativity. By paying close attention to what you want to convey in such detail, it becomes – he – real.” He wrote in the book: “There at the foot of the glacier I suddenly realized that I no longer felt like an outsider. You have become a part of Terra Ultima She is from me.

Statue of abolitionist Raúl Delio

Statue of Raúl Delio


How does that happen? “It starts with a spark. With something you were born with or something you grew up with.” In this way, he can trace his love for nature back to the generations. “My grandmother loved birds. She would always send a card with birds on it, or go out with a tape recorder to record the nightingales. This has always stayed with me that way, there has always been something in my life focused on nature.”

The book is more than just a representation of Terra Ultima’s nature, it’s also a mirror to us. “I hope that through the book people will go back to what is now and see that what we have here is actually incredibly beautiful. To preserve is worth cherishing.”

Statue of abolitionist Raúl Delio

Statue of Raúl Delio

Who is Raul Delio?

Raoul Delio graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, after which he also did animation in addition to illustrations.

He has received numerous awards for his work: two Dutch Design Awards, an annual Illustration Award, an AFK Award, a BNO Award and an ADCN Award. Since 2006 he has been working at Terra Ultima. The book was published in 2021 by Lannoo Publishing.

Read also:

“Explorer” Raul Delio finds a continent between Asia and Alaska and this is a feast for the eyes

Travel log ‘on the virgin continent with flamingo deer and coral leopards is lust for the eye

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