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  • Feridun OralTurkey ★ Illustrator
  • Samantha Christensen

Feridun Oral was born in Kirikkale, Turkey in 1961. The tales told by his grandmother were an early creative influence in his life. The artist graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from Istanbul Marmara University in 1985, and managed to combine his childlike way of looking at the world with the formal demands of high art. Though he is a talented artist and sculptor outside of the genre of children’s literature—working with textiles, ceramics, and wood—he prefers to write and illustrate books for children.

Animals are the subjects of much of Oral’s art and stories. He believes that children have an innate love of animals and that this love must be fostered and developed to teach children to love each other and themselves, and to appreciate nature. His characters are always well considered and strike a balance between realism and surrealism. The animals he draws are notable for their expressive features and actions. These expressions help children to identify with the animal characters in his books.

Oral’s ability to balance colors in his illustrations creates a warm and inviting atmosphere that, in turn, awaken warm emotions in his young readers. His paintings create an unspoken language that is universally understood by children of all cultures. For most of his illustrations, Oral uses watercolors with precision in order to give great detail to his characters and the world he creates around them.

Oral’s work has won a number of literary awards, including the “Best Picture Book of the Year” in 2008 by IBBY Turkey for his book The Red Apple. He also received the “Runner Up Award” in the Unesco Noma-Concour for The Blackberry Gnome and the Yellow Beak. Oral has also participated in many exhibitions and contests, and his books have been published abroad, appearing in German, Spanish, French, and English translations.

Selected Publications

Böğürtlen Cini ve Sari Gaga [The Blackberry Gnome and the Yellow Beak]. Istanbul: Yapi Kredi, 1993. Print.
Yavru Ahtapot Olmak Çok Zor [It is Tough to Be a Little Octopus]. Text Sara Sahinkanat. Istanbul: Yapi Kredi, 2008. Print.
Kirmizi Elma [Red Apple]. Istanbul: Yapi Kredi, 2008. Print.
Maymun Kral [The Monkey King]. Text Feridun Oral and Sara Sahinkanat. Istanbul: Yapi Kredi, 2009. Print.
Pirinç Lapasi Ve Küsçük Ejderha [The Rice Porridge and the Little Dragon]. Istanbul: Yapi Kredi, 2011. Print. [End Page 57]


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