emma magenta says...

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It’s more than likely that you’ve heard of Sydney illustrator Emma Magenta, or at least seen her work. After all, this prolific artist has three adult picture books under her belt, works as part of the Third Drawer Down collective and has illustrated two children’s books for Toni Collette as well as one of her own. Now she’s branched out with an animated series, The Gradual Demise of Phillipa Finch, comprised of 17 episodes, plus an accompanying hardcover book, interactive web component and an iPhone game. We caught up with Emma to chat about her latest creation.

Covered: the emotional abattoir, working with Toni Collette, sequels and being a hermit.

KB: So tell us about Phillipa Finch the character. Is she as sweet as she looks?

Emma Magenta: Phillipa Finch looked a lot sweeter before her heart was taken to the emotional abattoir. She is a girl whose sense of wonder has diminished due to her thwarted attempts to procure perfect love; ideal love. She is a portrait of what can often happen to a girl when she tries to hide her disappointment, as she comes to terms with her expectations of not just love, but life. She develops a shadow side that has obsessive compulsive disorder as a method of controlling her emotions. The shadow side makes itself present in the form of hyper attention to cleaning rituals, health and cup/pet collecting.

She is flawed yes, but that is the essence of the story I guess, it is only by accepting one’s own flaws that one begins to empathise with the flaws in others... then real love can take place.

KB: As well as the animation, there’s an interactive web component, a game and an illustrated novel. What prompted the decision to turn The Gradual Demise of Phillipa Finch into a cross-platform affair?

EM: I wrote the book for my own catharsis in 2008/2009 and then Rachel Okine (the producer from Hopscotch Productions) asked me to develop an animation series. So I wrote a script around the concepts in the book and The ABC network saw the potential of both mediums working as well as the potential for a game. The concept to make the website interactive occurred after employing the genius of Based on Birds. The main focus was to make any technology associated with the work very human based; things that would click emotion into play rather than the cerebral alone. More...

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