Today it is my great pleasure to welcome author illustrator Tina Kügler to the blog to share a first look at the newest installment in her Geisel-honored early reader series, SNAIL AND WORM ALL DAY.
I invited Tina to finish my sentences. After reading her responses, scroll down for a look at the cover and more, including a look into the process and development of the cover.
TINA FINISHES MY SENTENCES:
The idea for the SNAIL AND WORM stories first came from.. okay, I need to give you some backstory first: I LOVE children's books. The blood in my veins is animation, but my heart is all children's books. My husband and I were buying ourselves picture books long before we were even married, later we opened an independent children's bookshop in Wisconsin, and after that I worked in the youth department at the Manitowoc Public Library. So, naturally, when we had kids they were immediately immersed in books. Our two older boys essentially taught themselves how to read. But then son number three came along and HE DIDN'T WANT TO LEARN HOW TO READ. At all. Ever. He would just give up. I sat with him for hours and hours and hours, until both he and I were completely frustrated and in tears. Despite all of my bookshop and library experience, I could not find easy readers that we enjoyed. They were either simple but not engaging enough for him to stick with it till the end, OR they were funny and entertaining and wonderful, but frustratingly complex for a very beginning reader who was struggling as hard as my kid. I wanted to find him stories that were extremely simple, so he COULD read them, but also funny and satisfying, with the reward of a punchline at the end, so he WANTED to read them. I ended up writing these stories for him, from the trenches. Oh and spoiler alert, it turns out he was mildly farsighted and needed glasses to read. And now he is the most voracious reader out of our three boys!
In SNAIL AND WORM ALL DAY... there are three more warm and funny adventures with Snail and Worm. In one of the stories, Snail has a completely terrifying encounter with a new character due to a very, well, Snail-like misunderstanding.
The illustrations for the story were made using... acrylic paint on textured paper, vintage found papers, and linework drawn in Photoshop. I absolutely love the tooth, texture, and natural gradations of real paint and brushstrokes, it’s so tactile, you just can't replicate it digitally. However, I prefer to work digitally on my Cintiq tablet. So I create fields of color by painting on paper, then I scan my paintings into the computer. The Rothko-esque scan I sent along (see attached) is the pink I use for Worm and the orange tones I use for Snail's shell. I carefully cut out the pieces I need from the scans, but because I'm working digitally I can reuse my painted color fields, and make them transparent, and layer them over and over until I am satisfied. I also scan in age-discolored vintage paper (I do collect a lot of old paper stuff), and I layer that in as well, to give the illustrations a subtle warmth.
One thing I hope readers will take away after reading SNAIL AND WORM ALL DAY is... love! Seriously, Snail and Worm have a gentle, warm relationship that runs through all of their stories. The last story in the book, a bedtime story, really highlights that unconditional love. Oh, and also giggles. Love and giggles
Something I personally could do all day is... eat snacks and draw! Which is pretty much what I do already, so I guess I’m all good?
And just like that we have a COVER!
If you have not yet met Snail and Worm, I can tell you know that you're in for a treat. The first two entries in the series are every bit as much sincere as they are silly. Over the course of reading six Snail and Worm stories (each book contains three stories) I quickly grew to long for more and more adventures and happenings with this two charming characters. Lucky us that another book is on the way!
And just look at how nice these covers look all lined up!
TINA TAKES US BEHIND THE SCENES:
To show my writing/illustrating process, I'm sending part of the manuscript from SNAIL AND WORM AGAIN, and a rough illustration spread.
All of the SNAIL AND WORM manuscripts are written like scripts for a play or a puppet show. It's all dialogue. (Pro tip: take turns reading with your kid.)
My background is in animation-- I'm primarily an artist, so I'm always second-guessing myself as a “real” author writing a "real" book, but I can write a script! For me, the illustrations evolve organically from the script, just like storyboarding animation. It's all playing out like a film in my head as I write their dialogue, I can "see" them acting. These characters are so strongly established in my mind, I know how they would react if placed in almost any situation or presented with any challenge.
CREATING THE COVER:
I can't really show anything from the interior of SNAIL AND WORM ALL DAY yet, so instead I'm sending a couple of process pieces from the cover: one of my sketches, and a color "test."
Here's one more look at the final cover for SNAIL AND WORM ALL DAY:
Thanks for sharing, Tina! And thanks, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers!
SNAIL AND WORM ALL DAY will publish in September 24, 2019 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.