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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?
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 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)
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