I'm delighted to welcome Jacqui Grantford, illustrator of "Squeezy Cuddle Dangly Legs" on this, Day 7 of her blog book tour. Here are some of the questions I really wanted answered!
Me: Squeezy Cuddle Dangly Legs is an intriguing book title. When you are approached to illustrate, do you react more to the title, the concept or the writing style? To clarify, what "triggers" you?
J: It's a combination. All of them need to work to make a great book. I guess I react in order of appearance which is normally - title, concept and then writing style - but to me the most important of all three is concept. The idea and message need to be worthwhile and relevant to kids.
Me: Do you need to roll a concept around to get an "angle" before you can start,or do you read it through and start straight out?
J: There's definitely a lot of rolling around. I like to sit with a text for a while before doing anything to get a feel for it (deadline willing). I then do very rough thumbnails and a lot of talking to my family. Their input is crucial and quite often a lot of the ideas I get are as much theirs as mine. It all gets reworked a lot before I'm happy with the end result.
Me: Writers always hate it when illustrators nick off on holiday or are inconsiderate enough to get sick or move house halfway through a job. What do authors do that annoys illustrators?
J: I think authors are Fabulous!!! (Especially the ones on this blog tour.)Illustrators don't often have contact with the authors, so they don't get much of an opportunity to be annoyed. I'm pretty sure, however, if authors were involved the illustration process it would be very frustrating as we would undoubtedly see things differently to their original imaginings. I'm always incredibly nervous before the author sees the illustrations for the first time. It's so important for me that they love the pics.
Me: Being a writer yourself, do you ever get an itch to reword the things you illustrate?
J: Oooh, good question. I have to say I do. I've hinted at it a couple of times with the publisher, but figure that it's the editor's job and that if I'm sensible I'll just but out. Usually anything I notice ends up getting changed through the natural editing process. Gotta love a good editor.
Me: New Frontier, the publisher of "Squeezy Cuddle" produces visually-delightful books. How much of the design comes from you and other illustrators, and how much is decreed in-house?
J: New Frontier are gives lots of creative freedom which is fantastic. They always let you come with the whole design and only step in if they think something isn't quite working. It's a good level of involvement. I heard Ann James saying that with one of her latest books she had an art director working with her in much the same way as an editor does with the author. This is done more commonly in the US. I think that's a great idea.
Me: How does your illustrating style, which is positive, fluid and joyful, reflect your character?
J: I guess I'm positive, fluid and joyful? I'm having to do a little soul searching to answer this one. I do like to find joy in things and I especially love showing a bond and connection between characters. I don't feel that my character is fluid. I sometimes focus too much on details. But maybe in our art we sometimes try to express what we haven't quite let out yet. It's always much safer to express it in creative pursuits before applying it to our lives.
Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog, Sally. I've had an absolute hoot.
Thank you Jacqui!
So, there you have it... Jacqui's view of illustrating "Squeezy Cuddle Dangly Legs" by Peter Whitfield, published by New Frontier. Of course, if you're an author, you're probably already hoping (like me) that one day you'll get the chance to work with Jacqui. Maybe you already have! To see where Jacqui has been, follow the trail!
Day 1 - Sat 10 Nov -- Bren MacDibble's "Beast of Moogill" Day 2 - Sun 11 Nov - Sally Murphy's "Scribblings" Day 3 - Mon 12 Nov - Robyn Opie's "Writing Children's Books" Day 4 - Tue 13 Nov - Pemberthy Bear's "Pemberthy's Ponderings"Day 5 - Wed 14 Nov - Claire Saxby's "Let's Have Words" Day 6 - Thu 15 Nov - Tina Marie Clark's "What's Happening in my Office?"
To buy the book - Purchase page link: http://shop.newfrontier.com.au/shop/products/detail.html?Product__product_id=139 )