Wednesday 2 December 2020

The Song of the Nightingale - Illustrator Q&A

We're over the moon to invite Laura Carlin onto Picture Book Party blog to tell us all about the making of her new picture book, The Song of the Nightingale, written by Tanya Landman.

Guest Illustrator Q&A - Laura Carlin

Can you tell us a little bit more about your artistic process? 

I am very old fashioned in the way I work! I still work entirely on paper. 
After receiving the text, I think about the story and start coming up with ideas. I collect pictures, artists or photographs that inspire me. I make many versions at once to try and retain energy and play within a piece. The rough, then the final process doesn't work for me because it's too scary trying to produce a 'final'. I work in a mixture of coloured pencils, acrylic and watercolour paints. Sometimes I work in 3D and with a photographer. I try hard to come up with a 'world' for each story, and that includes the materials I use.

When did you know that you wanted to make picture books? 

Throughout University and my MA, I always assumed I was too macabre for children's books. I was also ignorant of how important they are. I was extremely lucky to be commissioned by Liz Wood at Walker Books to illustrate The Iron Man by Ted Hughes. I started to realise how influential, inspiring and magical children's books were for me as a child - and now as an illustrator and mother.

Do you have a favourite spread in the book? 

I loved illustrating this story and enjoyed several spreads. But it might be the sleeping cheetahs as the nightingale flies towards the painter. I always like the bit before the action takes place. I also appreciate that, as the illustrator, I can add these details - the animals beginning to go to sleep - to Tanya's beautiful text.

What was your favourite animal to draw? 

The mandrill with the colourful bottom!

What was your favourite Picture Book when you were a child? 

Father Christmas Goes on Holiday by Raymond Briggs - I love how moody he is! Or Brambly Hedge.

- Laura Carlin

A special thanks to our guest illustrator this week, Laura Carlin!

The Song of the Nightingale is now available to buy from all good booksellers.