I first met Anil Tortop when she and Ozan, her husband, were guest speakers for a professional development session for Writelinks, and have been running into them quite a bit since.
Anil and Ozan originally came from Turkey and when telling us their story on the professional development day Anil used some very cute illustrations and animations. Anil is part of the close knit and warm illustration community of Brisbane and together with her husband can often be found supporting the self publishing dreams of many authors through their design and illustration team work as well as at Children’s Book Illustration events. She is a member of the Brisbane Illustrator’s Group and SCWIBI.
Recently I caught up with Anil, who has boundless energy, and was celebrating the recent release of River Riddle for Ashton Scholastic to find out what animates her as an illustrator.
Today Anil, along with other illustrators is assisting at the Big Draw.
Self portrait – Anil
1.June: Anil can you you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you came to be an illustrator
Anil: I used to be an animator and drawing was a part of my job which I loved. Around eight years ago, a publisher/art director friend (who then became my husband) asked me to illustrate a book. Since then I’m constantly illustrating.
2.June: What are the main media you like to work in? Why?
Anil: Wacom Intuos + Photoshop. Because I love the ‘undo’ button! Well, that’s not the only reason of course. I like playing with other stuff too, but nothing feels as comfortable as digital on my professional work.
3.June: Has your style of illustration changed since you came to live in Australia? If it has why? How did you settle in?
Anil: I used to work in a publishing house as a full time illustrator which lead me to illustrate in many different styles. So changing style of illustration was nothing new to me. But I may have changed a bit, as a result of diversity here.
In Turkey I illustrated mostly chapter books, whereas here in Australia I do more picture books.
Chapter Book Turkey – Journey to Story Town
4.June: Can you tell me about Tadaa?
Anil and Ozan Tortop – Image Peter Allert
Anil: My husband Ozan, who has publishing and design background, and I founded Tadaa Book a couple years ago.We call ourselves “Children’s Booksmiths”, providing professional publishing services to authors who consider self-publishing.
We focus on illustrating and designing children’s books mostly. But we also support authors for the next steps, like publishing, creating websites, posters, bookmarks and all the other bookish things.
5.June: What are some of your recent books and works, can you especially tell me about your work with apps?
Anil: My latest published book is River Riddle (Jim Dewar, Scholastic). I have just finished a picture book called Granny, Wait for Me!, which will be published very soon by Little Steps. In the meantime, I am currently working on three other picture books.
Also I have some ongoing projects like regularly illustrating for a Turkish children’s magazine, and doing illustrations and animations for an online education platform called Koantum.
Having an animation background, I love working on apps where I can combine my skills, even though animation work is very limited. I have worked on several interactive projects including some apps for AppTalia. My latest one is a storybook app, called Overlander Adventurers, written and created by Tamara Anne Hogan. Tadaa handled the project direction and my part was again illustrations and animations.
6.June: What do you believe makes a good app?
Illustration for App Overlander
Anil: Story is the key, of course. Then visuals, especially if it is for children. Then the technology behind it, nobody likes crashing apps. Sound, music, interactivity. It’s all combined, like all other good things.
For a picture book, we say 50% story and 50% illustration. For a good app, you need to add voice overs, sounds, animations and clean coding to story and illustrations.
7.June: How does your work with Scholastic differ or similar to your work with Tadaa, what sort of communication do you have with the author?
Anil: The creating process is pretty similar, only the people and their roles are different. With Tadaa, authors are the publisher. I work directly with them and also the editor, if they hired one.
With Scholastic, Scholastic is the publisher. I work with their editor and I don’t have any communication with authors during the creating process.
8. June: Best experiences as an illustrator vs most challenging?
Anil: After over 40 books, I still love the moment that I hold and smell the fresh printed book best. The feedback I receive sometimes make me awkwardly dance.
I still find each new book is a new challenge in a different way. But if I need to chose a ‘most challenging’ part, it would be deciding what to draw.
9.June: What sort of texts appeal to you and why?
Anil: Funny! I love fun.
One of Anil’s many illustration contributions to books
10. June: Thanks so much for sharing Anil. I am sure there will be many more books and apps from you and the Tadaa team! I love your sense of fun and thanks so much for your time!
Anil’s Amazing links showcasing her work.
tadaa website: tadaabook.com
taadaa books – Illustration from Teddy Where are You?
Another of Anil’s many illustration contributions