Fascinating insights from the author and illustrator of Two Troll Tales from Norway

In the excellent Teachers’ Notes that we have just put up for Two Troll Tales from Norway (you can access and download them here, just scroll down the page), there are some fascinating insights from author Margrete Lamond and illustrator Ingrid Kallick about how they approached the creation of words and pictures. Here’s an extract:

margrete-lamond-author-photoMargrete:

I don’t know why I love retelling traditional tales, but something about it makes me feel hugely satisfied. Perhaps it is an ancient thing in my bones, hearkening back to those long-ago days when we told one another stories by the fireside, or while walking or working. Whatever it is, I relish the feeling of retelling, and most especially the challenge of retelling sometimes well-known tales in a fresh and emotionally engaging way. When I set out to retell a story, therefore, I always imagine I’m speaking directly to a group of listeners, and that I’m telling them a story they might know perfectly well, but that they haven’t heard told with this particular emotional flavour.

Norwegian folk tales are particularly satisfying as sources for retelling, because in their original forms (as collected and published by Asbjornsen and Moe) they retain some of the raw folk voice of the old storytellers from whom they were collected.

ingird_picIngrid:

While some people really have trollish personalities, it’s good to remember that although “Trolls are Trolls and there’s nothing anyone can do about it,” the trolls have their own regard for each other. For that reason, the trolls I painted for “Two Troll Tales” are just a little aware of what they are, and maybe they have feelings too – not always the worst possible feelings. They just don’t get along with humans very well.

As for the nitty-gritty of my process, I spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and looking at photos and other art before I start sketching.

I use pencil to make small drawings called thumbnails, about the size of a postage stamp. I choose the ones I like, scan them into a computer and re-draw then larger, with more details. Then I print out the final drawing at the size I would like to paint. Sometime I will print on watercolor paper and paint directly over the print. For “Two Troll Tales”, I transferred the sketch to watercolor paper with pencil and colored it with soft body acrylic paint, which can be made transparent like watercolor or opaque like tempera or gouache.

When I’m finished, I scan the painting into the computer. Then I can adjust the size, color and position of things to make it fit better with the text and page size.

 

You can read more in the full Teachers’ Notes, including Ingrid’s very interesting reminiscences about her Norwegian heritage.

Publication day for Two Troll Tales from Norway!

Two Troll Tales from Norway coverToday we are celebrating the official publication day for our beautiful new picture-book title, Margrete Lamond and Ingrid Kallick’s gorgeous Two Troll Tales from Norway. 

Retold in lively and authentic style by Norwegian-Australian author Margrete Lamond, and sumptuously illustrated by Norwegian-American illustrator Ingrid Kallick, these stories of magic and mischief from Norway will enthral young readers!

Margrete Lamond is a consummate storyteller with a deep understanding of fairy tales and folk tales. Her books include Tatterhood and Other Feisty Folktales, illustrated by Peter Sheehan, The Nutcracker, illustrated by Ritva Voutila; Frankenstein, illustrated by Drahos Zac; and the Once Upon A Timeless Tale series, a collection of retold folk and fairy tales, illustrated by a variety of leading Australian and international artists.

Award-winning illustrator Ingrid Kallick’s work has been featured in magazines and books, including in the Once Upon A Christmas anthology (Christmas Press 2014). Her work was selected for the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles shows in 2013 and 2015, with a bronze medal in 2015. Her magazine covers won the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award in 2012 and 2015, while her selection for the SCBWI stand at the Bologna Book Fair in 2014 received an honourable mention. Two Troll Tales from Norway is her first picture book.

Two Troll Tales from Norway is available from all good bookshops around Australia.

 

 

 

Christmas Press in Sydney next week!

Umbrella event 7th Sept SCBWI Conference-page-001Christmas Press will be going to Sydney next week–first to be part of the SCBWI Conference, and then to cheer on our author John Heffernan as he presents his beautiful book with us, Two Tales of Brothers from Ancient Mesopotamia, in two special events.

On the Monday of the conference we’ll be viewing the Illustrator Showcase, and looking forward to seeing the work of new and established illustrators! We’ll also be conducting a manuscript critique and appearing on a fabulous panel at 2pm about building a brand while maintaining your passion. Our books will also be featured in the conference bookshop and we’re looking forward to meeting authors, illustrators, readers and publishers!

John Heffernan Two Tales Author Talks (2)-page-001On Tuesday 6th, John Heffernan will be giving a talk at 1 pm Leichhardt Town Library; and will also present at a SCBWI event at 4.30 pm on Wednesday 7th, at the Children’s Bookshop in Beecroft when John will be part of a stellar panel of authors and illustrators from Australia and New Zealand. Both are free events, all welcome. Two Tales of Brothers will be available for sale at both these events, and John will be happy to sign them for you!

Interview with Libby Gleeson, author of our new Second Look title

Libby GleesonIt’s the official release week for the new edition, in our Second Look imprint,  of multi-award winning author Libby Gleeson’s wonderful first novel, Eleanor Elizabeth!

To celebrate, we spoke to the author about the novel and what’s it like seeing it back in print. (Interview cross-posted from the Second Look website)

First of all, Libby, congratulations on the release of the new edition of Eleanor Elizabeth in Second Look! We are so thrilled to be bringing this wonderful novel back to a new generation of readers. In your new introduction to the book, you wrote about how the book came about. How does it feel like, revisiting your first novel?
It’s a strange experience. I feel so proud to see it back in print. It was my first attempt at writing a novel, I didn’t know if it would ever be published and so revisiting it brings back all the pleasures of creating it while at the same time fearing it would never see the light of day.
One of the striking things about this novel is the sense the reader gets of the natural environment, which has a real role to play in the story. How did you build up that vivid background?
I wrote the book while I was living in Europe so I was missing my homeland at the same time as wanting to place my characters there. I spent a lot of time focusing on my own memories of landscape and the difference between where the story starts and where the family moves and lives. The new environment helps shape the main character. It’s almost a character in the story.
Elizabeth’s diary is almost like a kind of time-travel device, plunging Eleanor back into the past. How did you recreate Elizabeth’s world? Eleanor Elizabeth final cover
I knew enough about rural life in the late nineteenth century – that’s the story of my mother’s family.  I had to spend time looking at the kind of language Elizabeth would use. Diaries were a great help – especially Ethel Turner’s, despite it being about twenty years later.
You have gone on to become one of Australia’s most acclaimed and popular authors. What role do you think Eleanor, Elizabeth played in that?
The success of Eleanor, Elizabeth gave me confidence to keep going. I had written it while I was a member of a writing group in London and that group was very demanding in terms of finding the right image and language and sentiment. It encouraged experimentation. I still have that in my head as I write. I think I have also been lucky.
 The Second Look edition of Eleanor Elizabeth is available in all good bookshops.  ISBN: 9780994234070, RRp $18.99.

Cover reveal for our fabulous Christmas title!

A Toy Christmas Cover Final-jpegWe’re delighted to reveal the gorgeous cover for our Christmas title, A Toy Christmas, which will be released on November 10. That beautiful cover illustration is by Fiona McDonald, design by Beattie Alvarez and David Allan.

Compiled and edited by award-winning author Sophie Masson, this fabulous anthology of new, original seasonal tales, written by some of Australia’s most talented authors, both established and emerging, features the special magic of toys at Christmas. Illustrated in full colour, this is the perfect book to snuggle up with in the festive season—and well beyond!

With an introduction by Sophie Masson.

Featuring:

Natalie Jane Prior—Meredith Costain—Michael Grey—Fiona McDonald—Juliet Marillier–Anna Bell–Ian Irvine—Kathy Creamer—George Ivanoff—Goldie Alexander—David Allan—Rebecca Fung—Beattie Alvarez.

Have a look here at what Natalie Jane Prior, has said on her blog about the experience of writing The Dolls’ Nativity, her story for the anthology.

Book details:

ISBN 9780994234063

RRP: $24.99

Format: Large Paperback

Page extent: 96 pages, illustrated in full colour