Saturday, August 2, 2014

Talia Haven and Sytiva Sheehan

I'm doubly lucky today. Not only do I have Writer Talia Haven of the fabulous book "Ten Busy Brownies", but the Illustrator, Sytiva Sheehan as well! What could be better? A prize! There is a T-Shirt up for grabs with a lovely Brownie Illustration by Sytiva Sheehan. The rafflecopter entry form is after this post!

Dani: Please tell us how you both got started in Children's books! 

TALIA: I got started when my children moved out. I had plenty of time on my hands to learn how to write. 

SYTIVA: I have always known that art was here to stay, started making little illustrated stories as a small child, but took children’s book illustrating seriously in 2004.

Dani: What were both of your favorite toys growing up?

TALIA: A great big panda bear that I would sit on and beat on its nose in every time I had a temper tantrum. (Sigh… I miss that flat nosed bear.)?

 SYTIVA: A stuffed animal named doggy, he was in my band where I used any object that made sound. Loved all kinds of rocks and crystals they were all friends.

Dani: Why Brownies?
TALIA: I have always had a fascination with mythical creatures. Brownies are workers, when I was younger I always thought I would like to have one. Just to keep mom off my back about my bedroom.

SYTIVA: Love magical art stories as well as creating a magical place in the mind that one can revisit.

Dani: Did you two work together or separately on Ten Busy Brownies?

TALIA: Separately. Sytiva is so talented I always wanted to be surprised.

Dani: Sytiva please tell us a bit about your process in creating the illustrations for this. I'm particularly interested in the beautiful lighting you did for your book.

SYTIVA: The journey creating the mythological brownie characters was colorful fun and bonding. Each character has a different personality, which reflects human behavior in some way or another creating a sense of community. Some are smaller and some taller, chubby, older, shy or bold. There is even Allen the spider. I have grown to know these personalities and so my job is never boring.

The story takes place in the evening when brownies are awake and working. In night scenes it important to follow the path of light so you don’t loose the depth of the background and merge it with the foreground. So first I drew the sketches out starting from the source of light and where it was coming from and how far in distance, then shadows.

Because it is a counting book the images in the beginning have close up and medium-shots, where you can see the personalities. As you move through the story where there are more characters, they become distant long-shot illustrations exposing more of their world.

The sources of light within the illustrations are Old fashion street lamps with an orange pink glow. Moon sky light which has a tint of blue. The fireplace, which is at an angle and has a yellow light which only travels so far. Swinging lamps on a chain and coffee table lamps. Then yellow orange shiny smiley face buttons to go on the clothe of all the characters. This is to reflect light on and off and bounce it around to give a chance to compare the presence and absence of extreme light. The buttons themselves are fun because they are looking in different directions or looking at the subject of the illustrated page. Everything was drawn in permanent pen and ink and highlighted with a white color pencil. The buttons which were also drawn in pen and ink were added in the end using photoshop.

Dani: Do you have any advice for writers and illustrators that may be reading this?

TALIA: Keep at it. Sometimes things don’t work out until you team up with someone. 

 SYTIVA: Think the advice I would give to another illustrator would be to stay inside of the story when illustrating, do not stay on the outside of the page. It is much more fun to be involved.

Dani: What does the future have in store for both of you?

TALIA and SYTIVA: Right now we are working on a mid grade book of fables. Our most current project is a New Adult Short story entitled “MAMA CRIED”. Sytiva is the cover artist, it is edited by Ingrid Hall.

Follow Talia and Sytiva:

Their Brownie Blog:
Sytiva on Google+:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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