My life as a children's author while juggling being a mum, a wife and professional volunteer. (Sometimes it gets complicated)

Monday, 28 September 2015

Dandelions ~ Author and Illustrator Interview



So, Dandelions will be released this Thursday, 1st October.

YES - THIS THURSDAY! Yay! 

(Happy Dance here)

The publishing team has been working very hard behind the scenes 
to launch this book in style. But we thought you may like to know a 
little more about some of its creators.

Here is an excerpt from the Dandelions Teaching Notes
It is an author and illustrator interview which gives you a 
little more information about the story behind our story.

The full set of teaching notes can be found here.

~

AUTHOR INTERVIEW - Katrina McKelvey

1. What was the inspiration for the story?

As a toddler, Lara, my daughter used to climb in gardens and gutters to pick dandelion seed heads on the way to preschool. She would then ask me to help her blow them apart. I soon became guilty about digging out dandelion plants as they grew in our lawn. I wanted Lara to be able to pick them in our lawn instead of the gutter. Then I wondered how Lara would react if she knew her dad was mowing the dandelion plants flat.

I was also fascinated by whether people had connected blowing dandelion puff balls with spreading their seeds. The dandelion seed head is so beautiful - one of nature’s amazing creations.

2. What was the most rewarding part of this project?

I’m absolutely in love with dandelions. I love the colour of the flowers and the perfect formation of the seed head. I’m so lucky as I get to write about them and photograph them. Watching Kirrili paint them and bring them to life in our picture book was such a rewarding experience. I see them everywhere now and I want the world to see just how beautiful 
they are.

3. What was the most challenging part of this project?

It took four years from when I started writing the story until I had a published book in my hands so the waiting was the hardest. I can be very impatient!

It was also very challenging to break my main character's heart. I cried as I created the beginning of the story. It felt like I had broken my own daughter’s heart.


ILLUSTRATOR INTERVIEW - Kirrili Lonergan

1. What media did you use to create your illustrations? Can you briefly describe your process?

I used mixed media, prodominently gouache, with pastels and ink.

Firstly, I played around a lot with the roughs paying special attention to the positioning and feelings of the characters. I then painted characters, the scenery and the background in hues to reflect the changing colours of the sky on a spring day. Lastly, I layered and played with pastels and ink until the desired softness was achieved.

2. What was the most rewarding part of this project?

The most rewarding part was airbrushing all the dandelion seeds.

Just prior to the deadline of when the illustrations were due to the publisher, a huge storm hit Newcastle leaving us without electricity. With a small torch strapped to my forehead I sat in my studio till the wee hours of the morning. With complete darkness surrounding me the torchlight illuminated every little white parachute. I sat and airbrushed until each spread appeared to be balanced.

3. What was the most challenging part of this project?


The most challenging part of the illustrations was to replicate the little girl's dress on 
each spread.

~

We hope you enjoyed learning a little more about us. 



Katrina and Kirrili