What are your most recent books?
Excited for my latest, FOX AND SQUIRREL HELP OUT (Scholastic Canada) and upcoming Summer 2019’s NO HELP WANTED! (July/Scholastic Canada). I also have several projects on the go that are not ready to be talked about yet.
How do you pronounce your name?
I’m a young person and I’d like to become a children’s author or illustrator or both! How should I start?
Stay in school. Study a wide range of subjects–the more you know about the world, the better you’ll be able to write and illustrate your stories. Take courses to challenge yourself. Read fiction, non-fiction, the classics, the current, newspapers and magazines. Keep a journal for writing/drawing. Visit art galleries. Live in libraries. Draw and write from life.
Do you have any pets?
I have had two gerbils, three hermit crabs, two zebra finches that decided to have four babies, two guinea pigs, one russian hamster, one cricket, 1 mealworm, two snails, one fighter fish, 6 goldfish and one awesome Australian terrier named Trudy (or "Troodles") whose favourite place was in someone's lap or the backseat of a car in motion. My current pets are the dust bunnies under my livingroom couch.
The two guinea pigs, Stripe (pictured right) and Fluffy inspired the characters for "Clara & the Bossy", "The Couch was a Castle" and "A Trip with Grandma" (all Annick Press).
I’m an adult and would like to break into writing and/or illustrating children’s books. How should I start?
Sign up for courses to hone your skill. Courses often allow you to get your work critiqued by professionals in the field. Visit your library and local book stores to familiarize yourself with the genre. Read. Keep a journal sketchbook to play in. Write and draw for fun.
Visit websites of publishers that you're interested in for submission guidelines.
To stay informed about the business, writer/illustrator conferences, workshops--consider the following for membership:
The Writers' Union of Canada (http://www.writersunion.ca)
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (www.bookcentre.ca)
The Canadian Society of Authors, Illustrators and Performers(www.canscaip.org)
The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (www.scbwi.org/)
The International Board for Books for Young People
What kind of materials do you use to create your illustrations?
Watercolour, ink, goauche, pencil, pencil crayon, acrylic, photoshop. It varies from project to project.
How long does it take you to complete all the artwork for one book?
It depends on how busy my current schedule is. I like 6-8 months to illustrate a picture book. That time period does not include writing and editing the manuscript.
What goes into illustrating a book project, from the time the manuscript is approved?
Prepare character sketches. These are rough sketches of what I think the characters in the book should look like.
Draw up thumbnails (small, rough sketches) to show basic action and textbreaks.
Enlarge to full-size rough sketches.
Make changes for a final layout and show colour sample illustration.
Begin final paintings.
Meet or beat the deadline.