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

9780994302137

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

Magic Fish Dreaming interview

bannermagicfish2

You can read an Interview with Ali Stegert on Magic Fish Dreaming HERE.

Magic Fish Dreaming is a children’s picture book project written by my friend and crit-buddy June Perkins and illustrated by Helene Magisson. Today, I interview the author about her beautiful work and her dream of bringing the project to fruition.

A Dreamy Book for Youngsters

Ali: “A dreamy book for youngsters” is my five-word description of your book. How about you describeMagic Fish Dreaming in five words?” HERE.

For Our Children – The Illustrative World of Helene Magisson

This blog originally appeared on Magic Fish Dreaming.  Visit the blog to read other interesting posts about the project.

Join the facebook page or blog to be informed about the kickstarter.

11196362_992442344124038_8667092435439174466_n (2)
For Our Children

Helene Magisson is a Children’s book illustrator, who graduated from the painting restoration school “Art et Avenir”, Paris (France).

She was also trained in the art of medieval illumination, exhibiting her work in Europe and teaching the history and techniques of medieval miniature in primary and high schools, both in France and in India, where she lived for a few years.

When Helene settled down in Australia, she decided to start a new career in children’s book illustration. Her numerous trips in Europe and Asia, as well as her childhood spent in Africa inspire and enrich her work. She believes that travelling is a fantastic source of inspiration.

Helene was awarded the first prize in the illustration category at the 2013 CYA conference. She has illustrated her first book, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco.

IMAGE_524 (2)
Helene in India

How did you come to work on the Magic Fish Dreaming Project?

One day, I got a message from June Perkins. A long message describing her project with precision. Her approach was clear, smart, graceful and engaging.

She was talking about poetry, places of Far North Queensland, about multiculturalism, team work, and respect. It immediately resonated to me.

So I wanted to know more about her, who she was, and I discovered an incredibly creative and talented woman. I felt that this project could take me into a new world like a door opening to a part of Australia which I was thrilled to discover,  through June’s eyes and words.

I had no doubt about the project, no hesitation. It was like something absolutely natural.

Then she sent me her manuscript, and I had this wonderful feeling when each poem suddenly sparkled in my mind. My imagination was flying far away.

The connection was done straight from the first poem.

What appeals to you about this project?

10672270_863058573729083_8575808552576714056_n

Many things appeal to me.

I always wanted to illustrate poetry for children because there is no limit for the imagination. It is playing with words and images. I think it is a fantastic way to make the children aware of the beauty of the language and the words.

And I love June’s poems. They are so rich – with a mix of humour, gentleness, mystery, depth and a lot of love and admiration for the Far North Queensland environment. I also can feel the soul of a country in it. There is the mystery of a tree, the beauty of a majestic bird, many strange animals, and also children from different communities.

curtainfigtree5

When June approached me I really liked the fact that she highlighted one of my illustrations I called “For our Children”. It is an illustration I did a little bit after the terrorist attack in France.

There are nine children coming from all over the world (India, Pakistan, France, Ireland, Australia, Kenya…), children I have met in the different countries I have been living in or visited, and they are altogether, smiling, teasing, hugging. There are in peace and happy.

June liked it for its multicultural dimension. She wanted to highlight that in the project and that really touched me.

I love the idea to mix Aboriginal, Italian, Torres Strait, English,  and Australian children.

It is poetry for all and everyone in a beautiful and peaceful environment.

I feel so fortunate that this project came to me.

What kinds of things did you do or are you doing in illustrating the poetry text for June?

10687163_863058780395729_8151247497200959729_n

I ask June to tell me more about the poem I start working on. What is behind the text, and how she came to it. She also sends me some photos (she is an incredibly talented photographer too). I collect a lot of ideas from them.

In her photos, she sometimes focuses on a detail, a beautiful detail seen from another point of view. I also see that in her poetry, and I try to transmit this idea in my illustrations.

Then I work on a few ideas, keeping in mind the authenticity of the Queensland environment but then I try to “translate it” in a way to appeal children with the choice of the colours, adding amusing details, hiding animals.

I propose a few roughs and we decide altogether (including June’s editor Matilda Elliot) which one will work the best before I start working with colours.

What is your background with working with understanding illustration that is appealing to an audience of children and their families ?

906679_863058947062379_488040880911677809_o

I studied restoration and history of art and worked as a painting restorer for a few year, this gave me a strong background in my art work but there was no place for creativity.

I think I always loved children’s books. It started from my childhood in Africa when my mum was reading to us all the Andersen, Grimm and Perrault’s tales, even a little mongoose was coming very often to listen.

for June (2)So I did the same for my children when they were still small, reading all sorts of stories at bed time. I wanted them to be touched by the story but also to be open and sensitive to the quality of the illustrations. And there are so many incredible books that inspired me to pursue this dream,

Also when I decided to illustrate children’s books I spent many hours reading and looking at picture books because I wanted to understand how the illustrations process was working page after page and how to create an interesting relation between the text and the illustration. The more I discovered, the more my passion grew.

And when I felt ready, I attended the CYA competition in 2013 and was delighted to win First prize in the illustration category.

A bit later, I illustrated the beautiful and very well-known classical tale “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams Bianco, published by New Frontier. And I am excited that next year three more books I have illustrated will hit the shelves, including with the help of all our supporters, Magic Fish Dreaming.

1614476_725120300856245_906725289_o

You can find out more on Helene’s work here:

Helene Magisson Facebook
Helene’s Website

cropped-coverart41.jpg

1052949_1007135865988019_8780394806344188982_o

10560428_977668772268062_6540720703246471935_o