How to Illustrate a Children’s Novel

Captain Astra

Regular visitors to my blog have met Karen, today’s guest, before but for those who haven’t I’ll introduce her.

Karen Tyrrell, is an award winning children’s resilience author who recently launched her second book in the Super Space Kids series, Jo-Kin vs Lord Terra, an action-packed FUN space adventure for kids 7-12 into the cosmos.

We first met at Writelinks a writing group for Children and Young Adults which we both attend; I have been following her writing and publishing journey ever since, as well as attending her fabulous workshops on writing, distribution, and publishing.

Karen is a dynamo, and her outlook on life infectious.  She inspires children, teachers, writers and countless more with her stories and I am proud to know her.

Today I was really interested in asking Karen how she found and worked with the illustrator of her Super Space Kids Series.

1.June: How did you locate a suitable illustrator for Jo-Kin vs Lord Terra?

Karen:  Luckily for me, Trevor Salter illustrated the animated cover of my children’s novel STOP the Bully.

AND he created the cover and the internal illustrations for Jo-Kin Battles the It , Book 1 in the Super Space Kids series. Kids loved these illustrations so much, I begged Trevor to illustrate Book 2, Jo-Kin vs Lord Terra, Trevor loves illustrating robots, monsters and aliens so he was keen to create my next heroes and villains.

If you are searching for a new illustrator, you can follow a process. First research what illustrative style suits your novel. Discover which illustrators portray your style and genre. Ask those in the know to recommend the most suitable and talented illustrators. Seek quotes from two or three illustrators by sending your brief of the intended project (details of the timeline and what you want the illustrator to do).

2.June: How did you choose which scenes to illustrate for Jo-Kin vs Lord Terra?

Karen: Select scenes that children will love and will add extra pizazz to your story. Children love to see what their favourite characters, monsters, robots and aliens look like. Choose scenes bursting with humour, action or on the brink of an exciting turning point.

Pic 1 Commander Nova pressures reluctant hero, Jo-Kin to leave school and to save his little sister Pandora and the galaxy.

Commander Nova & Jo-Kin

Pic 2 Meet Joshua’s embarrassing family: Dad, Mum, sister Stella and brother Marty.

Jo-Kin's wacky family

Pic 3 Meet Lord Terra in one of his evil disguises and his stinky side-kick Prince Poison.

Lord Terra ( in disguise) & Prince Poison

3. June: What’s the illustrative process from brief to publishing for Jo-Kin vs Lord Terra?

Karen: I created a detailed brief describing each scene and characters in detail so the illustrator had a clear picture of what to draw.

The illustrator roughly sketched each drawing, requesting my feedback. I then commented on how to improve the drawings so they reach my vision goal. When I was satisfied, the illustrator created a final high definition version.

4. June: What are your top tips to create the best illustrations?  

Karen:  1-Find the BEST illustrator you can afford, who suits your style and genre. 2-Choose the most exciting scenes to illustrate the text. Ones which will bring your story to life. 3- Visualise each scene.  4-Describe the characters and their emotions …and the scene in precise detail in the brief.

 

Terra OUT NOW

Jo-Kin vs Lord Terra, an illustrated humorous novel for kids 7-12 r is eceiving *5 STAR reviews. Jo-Kin vs Lord Terra, is available at Dymocks, Riverbend, The Book Garden, Angus & Robertson Mary Ryans, Amazon and selected stores.

Connect with Karen Tyrrell here:

Website Facebook  Twitter

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Jo-Kin vs Lord Terra Blog Tour 23 May–I June

To celebrate Jo-Kin vs Lord Terra  launch Karen is hosting Jo-Kin vs Lord Terra Blog Tour and Book Giveaway. Co-hosts will share out-of-this-world book reviews, interviews and blog posts.

Karen will zoom away signed copies of her book Jo-Kin vs Lord Terra and galactic prizes via the websites below. Please leave a comment on the websites to WIN.

23 May Amazon & Blog Tour Launch www.karentyrrell.com

24 May Writing Kids Comedy, Melissa Wray http://melissawray.blogspot.com.au

25 May Create a Powerful Hero Character, Alison Stegert https://ali-stegert.com

Animating Anil – An Illustrator Fuelled by Fun

 

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.

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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.

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Chapter Book Turkey – Journey to Story Town

4.June: Can you tell me about Tadaa?

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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.

 

taadaa

 

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

website: aniltortop.com
tadaa website: tadaabook.com
vimeo: vimeo.com/aniltortop/

 

 

 

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taadaa books – Illustration from Teddy Where are You?

 

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Another of Anil’s many illustration contributions