Using his heroine of the novel The Vivisector, the Australian Nobel prize winner Patrick White says that it is not accidental that books open by themselves on a given page, since they open in the place where they are read most often.
I illustrated my first book in 1956. It was a book for young readers, “The Adventures of Lee Tah Hai.” I think that the publishers chose me not by chance, since they knew my knowledge of the subject derived from my visit to China in 1954.
During my work with books I have always felt obliged to approach an authors poetics, period and geography with respect.
I was closer to the sin of pastiche than to egocentric interpretation. I am sure I have not managed to develop my own style of illustrations universally suitable for everything. Maybe the architecture of the book, the way it worked while turning the pages, reminds of the fact that at the same time I designed pavilions and squares. Per- haps, a dash of sorrow and reflection, and also slightly more difficult to percept illustrations for children show that I painted and drew my own world at the same time. I was lucky enough to be able to pay off the debts I incurred in childhood and in my young days by illustrating books by H. Beecher-Stowe, H. Ch. Andersen, J. Verne, A. Tchekhov and J. Conrad, and also to convey to the reader some of my reflections on my voyages in maturity in books on China, Viet- nam, Mongolia, India and the USSR.
Andrzej Strumiłło, The Catalogue, Zacheta, Warszawa, 1976 r.