Posted in illustrator

Meet the illustrator: Tina Snerling

Tottie and Dot cover

Tina Snerling is an Australian illustrator with a brand new picture book — Tottie and Dot. Today Tina is visiting us to talk about how she starts illustrating a new book project.

When the publisher gives you a picture book text, what’s the very first thing you do?

I start to think about the colour palette, style of drawing, characters and the actual scenes to be illustrated. This can take days, weeks or months, depending of the depth of the book. For Tottie and Dot, the colour palette was very important to the storyline given the intensity of the scenes. They needed to be completely contrasting in every way.

Once you had the story text for Tottie and Dot, how long did it take you to complete all the illustrations?

This is a little difficult to answer as the process is quite long! I usually start developing the characters first, like this:

Tina's sketches for Tottie and Dot

 

Tina snerling sketches 2

I created around 10 different ideas and ‘girls’ in this case before I came up with the ‘final’ Tottie and Dot! Then once the girls are drawn, I work on different poses and facial expressions I might need. Then comes the fun part of illustrating each page! This took around 6 months full-time illustrating to complete the book ready for printing. Some days I can work 15+ hours illustrating — it depends how creative I am feeling!

Can you draw whatever you like?

I get given an illustration guideline from the author. They usually have a general idea of what image will be illustrated, then I get to the fun part and add my own personality and humour to the illustrations! Working with Tania is amazing, as I get to go crazy with my imagination, and add my own quirky details. In Tottie and Dot I loved the incorporation of the cats — it was so enjoyable creating crazy things for them to do in each scene.

Did Tania (the author) see any of your illustrations before the whole book was finished?

Tania and I work very closely on our books. We are a little bit different to most illustrator/authors where we work as a team. We are in constant daily contact (sometimes until all hours of the night) and bounce ideas off each other.

Do you decide where and how much text goes on each page, or does the publisher decide that?

The text is already set out on each page when I receive the manuscript. This was part of the author’s role and is important especially in picture books as we are usually limited to 32 pages. As the book designer, I do get to decide the font, size and position of the words though!

Did you do the cover first, or last, or somewhere in the middle of all the illustrating?

Our publisher usually likes to see the cover fairly close to the beginning of the book. Once the characters have been decided and the scene is set, the cover then usually comes next! I still tweak a few things later on once the book is coming to an end though! With Tottie and Dot, we actually had another cover:

Alternative Cover for Tottie and Dot

… which we stuck with for some time, but at the final hour I changed it to be the current cover you see today:

Tottie and Dot cover

Tottie and Dot is published by EK Books. You can find out more about the book (and the author and illustrator) on the Tottie and Dot website. This blog post is part of a Blog Blast — for more interviews, giveaways, book reviews and news on Tottie and Dot, check out the participating blogs

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Book reviews by Matilda

Book Review: An Aussie Year

An Aussie Year by Tania McCartney, ill. Tina Snerling, ISBN.9781921966248,   EK Books

Reviewed by Matilda, 7, WA

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

an aussie year

This is a book about 5 Aussie kids and one dog and each month they tell you what Australian children do in that month. Matilda is my favourite character because my name is Matilda too, and that character even looks a bit like me.

There are lots of illustrations scattered across the page of each month. My favourite month in this book is December because everyone’s celebrating.

Some of my favourite illustrations are:

  • The girl playing hopscotch in February (because I like to do that)
  • The Harmony Day pictures on 21 March where they’re all holding hands.
  • The Easter egg hunt with the costumes and the bilby
  • The Tasmanian devil at the tea party (he’s funny)

At the back of the book there’s a map of Australia with a bit about each of the states.

I learned some new things in this book — like Canberra Day is in March. (I didn’t know there was such a thing as Canberra Day).

I think all kids up to age 10 would like this book. There’s lots to look at and even if you think you know everything Aussie kids do in every month you can still learn some new things.

This review is part of a Blog Tour celebrating the launch of An Aussie Year. Check out all the stops on the tour. Or why not have a sneak peek at the characters in An Aussie Year?