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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > October 2018 > They had an inkling

They had an inkling

The collaboration between Kenneth Oppel and Sydney Smith was bound to be something special


Author Kenneth Oppel and illustrator Sydney Smith first met at the Canadian Library Association awards ceremony in Toronto in 2016. Smith had won the illustration award for Sidewalk Flowers, and Oppel book of the year for children for The Nest. Noticing Smith had his sketchbook with him, Oppel asked if he could take a peek. “I always want to look at artists’ sketchbooks because they’re magical,” Oppel says. He was amazed at how Smith could conjure a person, a movement, or an emotion with just a few lines. Not long after, Oppel finished the first draft of his new novel Inkling(HarperCollins, Sept.), about an inkblot that escapes a sketchbook and shakes up a family of three – artist/single dad, 11-year-old Ethan, and younger sister Sarah – for the better. He knew Smith had to illustrate it. Here, the two talk collaboration, tough topics in Inkling, and what they would ask the inkblot to do for them.

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