I am tickled pink as a newborn babe to have my first board book, MAMA LOVES YOU SO, be released into the book world today! And how fun to have my fellow EMU’s right there with me (a bit like having a Mission Control flock at my side!).
Today’s post brings me an extra helping of book release fun! Not only do I get to bask in the warm light of having a new book come out but I also get to interview the illustrator who so perfectly captured the spirit of my book, the talented Simone Shin.
Thank you for answering a few questions today, Simone, and happy book birthday! I can’t express how much I love the illustrations in this book. I appreciate your taking the time to share a bit about yourself with us.
How long have you been illustrating children’s books?
I’ve been illustrating children’s books since about 2011.
How did you get started in children’s literature?
I studied illustration in college, and went directly into editorial illustration work. From there I made a segue into children’s books by joining SCBWI and meeting my agent eventually.
What made you decide to illustrate this book?
I saw the text and knew it was for newborns/infants, and thought that was unique and fantastic! From my own experience having a baby, I would have loved to have more newborn baby books available. I also was really into hiking and nature myself, pre-baby, and would have loved to have a book about a mom hiking with a newborn baby when my child was born, so I loved the idea.
When my agent (Tricia Lawrence) showed me the cover, we were both giddy! When I saw the interiors, three things stood out to me: First, the color palette (gorgeous!). Second, your ability to illustrate nature/landscapes in a kid-friendly style. And third, how you went from a “wide-angle” view down to a “close-up” of the mother and baby. Can you describe your process and the medium you used in creating the illustrations? How much collaboration was there with the team at Little Simon?
I use textures from painted material that are scanned and manipulated through photoshop when illustrating. Everything begins by sketching by hand on paper, then gets put into photoshop for more illustrating. There were already some notes on what type of scenes they had in mind for each page, but the decisions to be up-close or far away were up to me (as well as most of the animals). I based my decisions on the way the text was supposed to be read and the dynamics that were already a part of the story. Some of the ideas flowed very naturally, like the page that the notes called for all the animals to be on one spread (in which case I noticed the only option was to make a far away “map” of the entire landscape-which I loved!). I had a lot of fun with colors in this book, I typically don’t go so bold and bright, and that is something Little Simon helped encourage me to do which I’m very happy about.
I just about cried when I saw the illustration with the bears (I’m “big on bears”). The only named animals in the text are the eagles and deer. How did you decide on what other animals to include?
I believe in general there was a suggestion to make animals in pairs (representing Mama and child). I decided on birds, butterflies, foxes, opossums, rabbits, etc. based on the scenes. There was a lot of collaboration in this book that way, there would be a suggested landscape, and I would create the landscape and make up the animals based on where the landscape took place. I wanted to go big (bear) and small (cricket), to include everyone–since almost everyone has a mama!
How does nature inspire you?
Natures inspires me a lot! Like I had mentioned before, I already love hiking and things like camping and beaches. I have always wanted to do more landscapes since I have a lot of childhood memories of road trips in cars going across the mid-west… I was so happy to have a change where I could illustrate something like this!
Thank you, Simone!
I will be giving away a signed copy of MAMA LOVES YOU SO as part of my book launch week. How to enter? Leave a comment below! For every comment you make, I will enter your name into the giveaway (Up to one comment per day.).
When Terry’s son was little, she and her husband would hike with him in a “Gerrypack” to expose him to the beauty of nature. She got the idea for this story when he was a baby (he’s now 32).
Terry writes picture books, easy readers and board books and is whittling away at a middle-grade adventure novel. She lives in the California desert but avoids the summer heat by retreating to Mammoth Lakes every summer to hike, bike, write and dip her head in high mountain sky. She’s a Vermont College of Fine Arts graduate and teaches online children’s writing courses for UCLA Extension (go Bruins!).