Thursday, October 20, 2016

Toni Yuly Tears a Tale and a Prize!

I love the adorable animals in Toni Yuly's books. As cute as they are I love her torn tissue images even more! It is wonderful to see how Toni's style has changed. It's even more amazing to see it happen over a period of just a few years! Toni talks about the changes she's gone through as an illustrator!

Be sure to check out the Prize after the post!


Dani: I know that you have just started in torn tissue paper. Could you tell us a bit more about that and the previous art styles you tried?

Toni: The torn tissue began while I was playing around one day...I really wanted to re-connect with that totally free, non-goal oriented creative activity I had had in abundance before I became an "official" author with book contracts. I have always been attracted to collage and had some tissue paper laying around so I started tearing it up... It was fun! I love to randomly tear paper and see what shapes jump out at me. After I see a shape I like I add some details with pen and ink. I have always loved working fast, also making many "bad" things or mistakes doesn't bother me. I like the quickness of ink and watercolor...I kind of like not planning things out...I am process oriented, which to me means, I like to work on something over and over again until I get it right or it turns into something else that I like. The process of doing something over and over quickly but maybe getting to the end goal slowly works for me most of the time. I have tried oil painting but it drives me crazy. I love working with pieces of cardboard and making wall sculptures with a glue gun.

Dani: How did being a librarian influence your career now as a writer and illustrator?

Toni: It helped me to stay alive! It also gave me close access to tons of books! I would get to see new picture books before they were in the stores and the Children's Librarians in particular were my sounding boards. I pestered those folks constantly and they never tired of being happy to help me. I spent many, many years bouncing my ideas off of so many helpful Children's Librarians. I was not a Children's Librarian but worked in General Reference. I also think helping people and being in a big public library was so different from being alone creating stuff that it was a really great balance, and kept me sane.

Dani: What are some of the things you've always wanted to do?

Toni: Design images for everything! I love fashion, textiles, etc. and would love to design theater sets too. Finish all of my writing projects! Take a long road trip to the Southwest. Get a piano. Get a dog. Meditate every single day...

Dani: What is your favorite thing about Picture Book Illustration?

Toni: Everything! It is like a dream come true to be able to make a book for children using words and pictures! I don't think of my self as an illustrator because I wasn't trained as an illustrator but I think that is part of my strength. I love making visual images and I try not to limit myself in any way....I love the design process...of course actually making a picture book is hard work, but so satisfying when you are finished!

Dani: Could you give some advice to those of us finding our place in the Picture Book Industry?

Toni: Don't give up. Keep going. Pester people (in a nice way of course.) Try to connect with the KidLit Community as much as possible. Let your heart lead you in your work.

Dani: Any last bits of advice you'd like to share?

Toni: If you just keep working inch by inch you will get there.


Follow Toni:

My website:

Follow my Torn Tissue Tuesday posts every Tuesday on my facebook page.


I have 2 new books being published in 2017! THE JELLY BEAN TREE, June 2017, (Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan) and THANK YOU, BEES, Fall 2017, (Candlewick)



One lucky winner will win a torn tissue illustration created by Toni Yuly! This prize can only be shipped to the US or Canada.

You MUST comment on this post to be considered for this prize!
It would be great if you could share this post with your friends.


  1. I am not entering for the prize, but I love the drawings! So adorable. Time to tear up some papers.

  2. I've ben playing with torn tissue and never thought to combine it with ink. What a bold, simple statement it makes!

  3. Thanks, Toni. It's good to see another non-schooled illustrator having success. It's a bit more difficult sometimes, but as you said - one inch at a time.

  4. Love your torn tissue paper works!

  5. So happy for you that your book dreams are now reality. I love the spontaneous quality of your tissue drawings!

  6. A great interview about a great person/author/illustrator! Toni is super talented (and super nice too!) Thanks for showcasing her talents, Dani!

  7. I just adore it all!! I have loved watching your artistic journey!

  8. I just adore it all!! I have loved watching your artistic journey!

  9. As Elaine said, Toni is as sweet as she is talented! Her recent torn tissue art is simply marvelous.

  10. Such beautiful artwork! Thank you for sharing with us Toni!

  11. I find as an illustration that I am always experimenting and exploring new mediums.

  12. Your torn tissue illustrations are so fun and so free. Thanks for the great interview.

  13. Your picture books are perfect. I can see with the colors, simplicity, and playful illustrations, it really would reach the younger children. Thank you for the advice on keep on pestering (in a nice way) Love it!

  14. I love how pure and simple these are, yet so full of colour and life! Bravo! That is deceptively hard to do! And thank you for sharing the loose joy of your process, too, it's very inspiring!

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    1. Oops! I accidentally posted the same comment twice! Sorry!

  16. What? I missed commenting on this post? I LOVE Toni's work. She is such an inspiration. Her characters convey such attitude and emotion with just a look or turn of the head. I learn from her with every post.

  17. I love your colours and the expressions on the characters' faces. And your titles are straight to the point and cute! Thanks for the inspiration to keep going, Toni!

  18. I also loved hanging out at the library at the children's section and looking at all the picture books. I always found this profession interesting. Now that I am working on creating my own picture book, I guess I'll find out.