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  • Effie LadaGreece ★ Illustrator
  • Lydia Kokkola

“I believe that a fairy tale should not be limited to one country or one era or impose boundaries and rules. Its purpose is to offer a fantastic journey.”

Effie Lada

Effie Lada was born in a small village in Peloponnese, Greece in 1959. After taking entry exams for medical school, she decided to end her formal education and became a fulltime mother and wife. She began drawing seriously while she was at home with her two daughters. Initially, her drawings were a way for her to express her feelings about motherhood, and a way of communicating with her children. Thus it was not surprising that, after she had studied painting under the tutelage of Giorgos Voyiatzis, she was interested in producing picture books for children. Although she has had a versatile career, including illustrating Christmas cards and producing theater sets, her audience has always been comprised of children first and adults second. She has worked in the field since 1991 and has already published more than 60 books, and the covers of still more.

Although she occasionally experiments with collage, Lada’s paintings are mostly intricately worked watercolor paintings and gouache. Her slender figures always seem to be dancing, not quite fixed to ground. Clearly affected by the elements and their emotions, Lada’s characters bend and sway to provide insight into their interior world. For the most part, the settings are a blend of modern elements with a strong sense of fairy tale. Even in her illustrations of historical works for which she has researched the details of clothing and environment, her characters appear dressed in a timeless fashion, which evokes a sense of other worldliness even when the story is ostensibly set in the here and now.

Lada has written many of her works herself. E Kyriakes sto parko [Sundays in the Park] is a straightforward love story between a boy and a girl, who meet once a week in the park, and who long to grow up so that their love will be recognized by others. Lada has also produced illustrations for other writers. Commenting on how different it is to work with a “foreign text,” she admits that “When the story is your own, you submerge yourself deeper and more completely into its world. You have the ability to create a dialogue between text and illustration.”

Lada’s most recent work, Piroulito and Rosalia is about speech-impaired people. For this, her beautiful, expressive characters wear masks like beaks, giving them the appearance of graceful flamingoes to illustrate her idea of beauty in difference.

Selected Publications

E Kyriakes sto parko [Sundays in the Park]. Athens: Livanis Publishers, 2004. Print.
Sholi Magisson [Witch Academy].Text Ioanna Dakolia. Athens: Livanis Publishers, 2004. Print.
E Taro kai o zaharozimomenos [Mary and the Sugarplum Man]. Text Athina Biniou. Athens: Patakis Publications, 2006. Print.
E Vrohi ton asterion [The rain of stars]. Text Vasia Morali. Athens: Modern Times, 2008. Print.
I Anna kai to doro tou fegariou [Anna and the Gift from the Moon]. Text Ioanna Dakolia. Athens: Modern Times Editions, 2009. Print. [End Page 29]