Exclusive interview with James Chapman

I came across James Chapman’s lively fun illustrations in Summer. As a teacher of families and a mum myself his work really appeals to me. Anyone who has been around toddlers for any time will know how much time they spend mooing, baaing and neighing.

We were in Germany a few years ago with my toddler son and husband when I first learned that German fire engines go tatü tata. I was shocked! Fire engines go nee naw don’t they? Have a look a James’ fun illustrations and see for yourself!

nee naa

I was really keen to talk to James and find out a bit more about his work. I was lucky enough to get an interview. Here it is…

What made you start drawing your Soundimals pics?
I found out about the sounds dogs make in other languages and I thought it was really interesting and that people probably didn’t know about it, or didn’t really think about it. So I sketched up a lot of dogs and gave them some sounds to be saying and the picture was really popular, so I kept on going with other animals and I’ve not stopped ever since!

worldwide woofs

Why does this interest you?
It’s so strange that all these animals and sounds that sound the same all over the world have been given such different descriptions depending on language. It’s a really nice example of diversity and how everyone can have a different opinion on something and they’re all equally valid.

How do you find out what noise animals make in the many languages?
I do a lot of online research, using google in other languages (I don’t speak any of these languages, but online translator are really useful for this). And along the way I’ve spoken to a lot of really helpful people who’ve approached me saying “if you ever need any help with this language, just ask”. The internet is a really powerful tool and there’s so much information out there and people are so helpful and supportive.

Have you had any interesting commissions lately?
I’ve been doing some work for the website BuzzFeed and they always have such fun ideas to draw. I did one a few weeks ago for German proverbs German proverbs translated into English which was very interesting. Aside from that I had some fun ones over Christmas, customising some prints to include people’s pet dogs

Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei

What are your hopes for the future of Soundimals?
In the short term I’m planning on putting together a second book, and keeping the site updates with new comics as often as I can, because it’s a real source of fun for me. I really enjoy doing it. But my main goal is to get the books and their content to a wider audience. I’m having such fun doing this that I really want to keep it going and spread the word about the fun sounds of the world!

He has a book out at the moment available on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/205380752/soundimals-book-32-pages-pre-order?ref=shop_home_active_1″


His beautiful A3 posters are available on Etsy


Check out more of James work on his website, http://chapmangamo.tumblr.com/

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