I got the idea during the COVID-19 lockdown last year. I was in isolation in London by myself and saw a drawing of a lighthouse during the winter. That made me think of a lonely lighthouse keeper and the idea came from it.
The book follows a lighthouse keeper as he goes through his everyday routine, living alone on an isolated little island. He is happy with his life, but he’s always looking to the sea and thinking what could be next? There isn’t much of a story in On Silent Waves, it’s more of a contemplation on loneliness and routine – the inevitability of your safe heaven and the promise of freedom in the unknown, but only once you take that step.
I really enjoy wordless books and visual storytelling – illustrations have the power of transporting you to other places and making you feel all sorts of emotions, and when they aren’t dependent on foreign words, the experience is even more freeing. When I went to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2019, I saw the exhibition of the beautiful finalists of that year and I knew that it would be an amazing opportunity for me to try my hand at it.
To all the lighthouses no longer alight.
Desislava is a Bulgarian illustrator and designer, specialized in narrative and children’s book art. Since she has always loved drawing and telling stories, she pursued higher education in the UK and graduated with a BA degree in Illustration, followed by an MA degree in Children’s Literature: Children’s Book Illustration in 2019. She enjoys making illustrations of all kinds and she draws inspiration from everything around her, but she currently drawing about feelings or a specific state of mind is her favourite.