The Happy Book

children's book podcast with Tania McCartney

Hello! I’m Tania McCartney and I’m an Australian author, illustrator and editor of children’s books. I’ve always wanted to live inside a book, and now I practically do. I’ve been writing professionally for over 30 years, starting in magazines and entering the children’s book industry in 2008. I have experience in publishing, self-publishing, editing, proofreading, marketing, promotion, speaking, teaching, layout, design, typesetting and devouring picture books—like, with my teeth. My illustration journey was rekindled (after a 25-year hiatus) in 2013, and I’m now both writing and illustrating children’s books. Pinch me. I must be dreaming. The Happy Book is a podcast that’s been on my mind for many years, and I knew it would happen when the time was right. Now is the time. Sharing and connecting with others in the kids’ book industry is hugely important to me, and this podcast is another way I can do that. The Happy Book is a place for children’s book creators of all kinds. You may be a writer, an illustrator, a designer, an editor, a publisher or just a book aficionado—we’re all in this together, and for people like us, there’s nothing more delicious than talking shop. Am I right or am I right? This podcast is specifically for those interested in the creative processes and production of kids’ books, and would particularly suit emerging creators—or those who just need a refresher or inspiration. These weekly podcasts will cover a variety of topics, experiences, tips, tricks, insider info and advice on creation and publication—from baby board books through to middle grade. I may cover young adult at times, but the big focus will be on books for younger readers. I’ll often feature thoughts and input from other children’s book creators and publishers—both established and emerging—and will conduct interviews, too. Each podcast will list its content, so you can pick and choose which suits you. Fire up your device, cream in those earbuds and enjoy this foray into the magical world of kids’ book creation. If you have any questions or comments, you can say hello at books@taniamccartney.com. Welcome to this happy place—the Happy Book.

HELLO!

Welcome to Chapter Eight of The Happy Book. In this chapter, I’ll be talking to you, illustrators! I’ll be talking about becoming a next level illustrator, about how rapidly I’ve grown my own illustrator journey and the book contracts I’ve secured.


I’ll then shine the laser light on you and how you can hone your own illustration skills, my thoughts on character development and movement, understanding colour, and ideas for both expanding your skillset and illustrating a narrative (which can be very different to just creating a stand-alone image).


We’ll also cover portfolios and how to put something eye-catching together—both online and in a bricks and mortar folio you can take with you to conferences, festivals and maybe even to the offices of a particularly desired publisher.


Fire up your device, cram in those earbuds and enjoy this foray into the magical world of kids’ book creation. If you have any questions or comments, you can say hello at books@taniamccartney.com.


I’m Tania McCartney and I’m an author, illustrator and editor of children’s books. I’ve always wanted to live inside a book, and now I practically do. Welcome to The Happy Book.


SHOW NOTES

00:35 Introduction

01:37 A delicious flat white thanks to a good husband

01:52 Reconnecting with your 8-year-old self

03:54 Losing connecting with illustration

05:15 The birth of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge

07:12 Being in your path of flow—miracles unfold

07:26 The opportunities and contracts that appeared when I dared reconnect with illustrating

08:44 Expanding my career as both author and illustrator

09:26 Illustration style

11:15 Mimicking the illustration style of others

12:20 Feeling like a fraud

13:14 Developing your digital skills

14:00 Digital illustration resources

14:52 Illustration courses

15:19 Practice is everything

16:14 More course ideas

16:54 Thinking you can’t draw

18:11 Children are natural artists

18:58 Hating the work you create

19:50 Non-dominant hand drawing

20:42 Blind contour drawing

21:55 A big glass of mineral water

22:01 Colour is EVERYTHING

23:29 Ideas for your colour palettes—Australia Illustrated

24:50 Colours that qualify as neutrals

25:04 Tonal values

25:35 The use of neutrals

25:55 Use of patterning

26:22 Texture

27:03 Transparency

27:34 Muddy, dull colours

29:05 Paint sample cards

29:59 How colour aligns with a narrative—At the End of Holyrood Lane and Smile Cry

31:32 Colour in books for babies and toddlers

32:00 Colour for junior fiction and chapter books

32:39 Illustrators with beautiful colour palettes

33:04 Using a limited colour palette

33:29 Contrast, depth, light and shadow

34:55 Use colours you like and enjoy—I hated purple until Hip Hip Hooray

36:38 Backgrounds

38:10 White space as breathing space

39:30 A caffè lattè

39:37 Illustrating to narrative

40:43 Using Mamie as an example of illustrating to narrative

45:10 Those little visual extras

47:08 Ivy Bird’s sub narrative

47:59 Wordless spreads

51:06 Creative Tools

52:45 Tools for digital illustration

53:23 Illustration portfolios

101:16 Digital portfolios

101:51 A pile of fresh Queensland figs

1:02:04 Illustrator confidence

1:03:57 A Bear a Day 90 auction

1:04:36 The 52-Week Illustration Challenge ‘likes’

1:05:54 Art is not about how it looks, it’s about how it makes us feel

1:07:27 How to deal with negative comments on your work

1:07:48 Illustration is about the process

1:08:16 Running your own race

1:09:41 Authenticity

01:11:23 Wrap-up

01:12:07 Coming up next week

01:12:58 The End


Music: Ukulele Whistle by Scott Holmes


PODCAST LINKS

Australia Illustrated

Flow Magazine

Jackie French

National Library of Australia

Australia: Illustrated Map

The World: Illustrated Map

Lynda.com

Skillshare.com

Nina Rycroft’s Drawing Courses

Jane Newland

My Teacher is a Monster by Peter Brown

Kuler Colour Wheel

At the End of Holyrood Lane by Dimity Powell and Nicky Johnston

Carson Ellis

Anna Walker

Isabelle Arsenault

Peter Brown

Gus Gordon

Marc Martin

Portable lightboxes


LINKS

taniamccartney.com

facebook.com/TaniaMcCartneyAuthor

twitter.com/TaniaMcCartney

instagram.com/taniamccartney

The Fantastical Flying Creator


COMING UP

Chapter Eight – In conversation with guest Sheryl Gwyther. Plotting and planning middle grade, finding the right story and creating a protagonist who will capture your readers’ hearts.

writing illustrating books children's books kids' books emerging illustrators emerging creators picture books colour


HELLO!

Welcome to Chapter Seven of The Happy Book. In this chapter, I’ll be chatting to friend and author Dee White all about those nutritious story seeds, how we can find them, and how we can grow them. We’ll also talk about researching your ideas to provide depth and authenticity, travelling for research and expanding upon ideas.

We’ll also cover real life stories that inspire fiction—or ‘faction’—and how we can honour these story ideas with authenticity and depth. Dee has been writing across several children’s book genres—from early childhood to YA—for several decades now. She has a stack of wisdom and experience to share—you’re going to need a notebook to take notes!

Fire up your device, cram in those earbuds and enjoy this foray into the magical world of kids’ book creation. If you have any questions or comments, you can say hello at books@taniamccartney.com.

I’m Tania McCartney and I’m an author, illustrator and editor of children’s books. I’ve always wanted to live inside a book, and now I practically do. Welcome to The Happy Book.


GUEST – DEE WHITE

Dee is the author of 18 books for children and young adults. Her picture book, Reena's Rainbow, illustrated by the amazing Tracie Grimwood, has been released internationally and is currently being translated into Auslan to make it more accessible to deaf children.

Dee has received many writing awards including a May Gibbs Creative time residency, a SCBWI Nevada Mentorship and first prizes in the Nairda Lyne and CYA writing competitions. Her current work in progress, Beyond Belief, received a VicArts research grant, allowing Dee to spend a month in Paris researching.

She has presented at conferences and writer's festivals throughout Australia and overseas, and will be a key presenter at the 2018 Sharjah International book fair. Dee blogs about writing and books at DeeScribe writing, and runs online classes for writers from all over the world through Writing Classes for Kids.


SHOW NOTES

00:35 Introduction

01:36 About Dee

02:34 A note on the sound quality

03:00 A nice flat white + a water

03:36 A typical writing day for Dee

04:34 The importance of thinking time

05:45 Writing in the dark

07:34 Dee’s writing genres

09:40 Not restricting yourself to genre

11:37 Dee’s preferred genre

12:19 All fiction is based on real life

13:15 Story seeds—ideas—Letters to Leonardo

15:45 Ideas from personal experiences—Reena’s Rainbow

18:00 The remarkable unfolding of Paris Hunting

19:50 The discovery of the story for Beyond Belief

20:26 Dee’s astonishing research month in Paris

21:26 Serendipity when writing stories

23:47 Combining fact and fiction to make ‘faction’

25:40 Golden rules for writing faction

26:26 Travelling for research and fine detail

26:39 Using photos to discover your characters

27:15 Interviewing your own character

28:03 Creating authentic fictional characters alongside real life characters

30:48 The power of travel for story development

31:41 Researching on the internet—pros and cons

33:19 Do try to travel, if possible

34:24 Inaccuracy when researching online

35:14 Advice on researching facts—K9 Heroes

37:48 Authenticating research

38:41 How facts can change over time

40:40 How far can we stretch the truth?

41:53 The popularity of faction books

43:09 We cannot dumb things down for kids

43:59 Diversity and multiculturalism

45:48 Confronting details for this age group

47:26 Advice on applying for grants for travelling

49:52 Advice from Dee for emerging creators

50:59 Conference advice

52:14 Networking online

54:30 Publishers are people, too

54:59 What’s coming up for Dee

57:29 A refreshing up of green tea

57:45 Wrap-up

58:20 Coming up next week

59:06 The End


Music: Ukulele Whistle by Scott Holmes


PODCAST LINKS

deewhite.com

facebook.com/Dee-White-Author-169372956427797

twitter.com/DeeWhiteauthor

instagram.com/deewhiteauthor

Reena’s Rainbow

Letters to Leonardo

I Am Your Protector

K9 Heroes

Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund

VicArts – for Victorian creators

NANOWRIMO


LINKS

taniamccartney.com

facebook.com/TaniaMcCartneyAuthor

twitter.com/TaniaMcCartney

instagram.com/taniamccartney

The Fantastical Flying Creator


COMING UP

Chapter Eight – for you, illustrators! We’ll cover how I honed and grew my illustration journey, how to take your illustrator skills to the next level, as well as portfolios and much more.

children's books research writing authors travel grants


HELLO!

Welcome to Chapter Six of The Happy Book. In this chapter, I’ll be talking about Your Creative Life—your creative setting and how important that is, your production schedule, your health, self-confidence, self-sabotage, how to overcome creative blocks and naysayers, maximising your output, living in your creative flow, saying no, running your own race, and lots more.

All of these things will add up to a more balanced working life—one that’s fulfilling, uplifting and happy-making, not draining, health-sapping and joy-robbing.

Fire up your device, cram in those earbuds and enjoy this foray into the magical world of kids’ book creation. If you have any questions or comments, you can say hello at books@taniamccartney.com.

I’m Tania McCartney and I’m an author, illustrator and editor of children’s books. I’ve always wanted to live inside a book, and now I practically do. Welcome to The Happy Book.


SHOW NOTES

00:35 Introduction

01:33 The most fabulous flat white

02:11 Your creative setting

07:17 Your creative schedule

10:23 My base schedule

14:20 The hours you do, the more productive you’ll be—NOT!

14:53 Sharpening your axe—the story that changed my life

16:45 Maximising your time

17:28 Identify

18:56 Clear and cull

20:43 Cut

23:41 The universal law of space

26:05 The curse of social media and FOMO

27:33 A glass of mineral water and some strawberries

27:39 Hot tips for streamlining and commitment

28:29 Multitasking is, like, SO yesterday

30:46 Writing apps

31:22 Prioritising your timeframes

32:20 Joining writing or Facebook groups

32:52 Set yourself some deadlines

34:02 Procrastination

36:31 Creative blocks

37:43 Self-sabotage

38:43 Defining yourself as an author or illustrator

39:34 Exposing your inner critic

41:53 Feeling you’re a fraud

44:28 Doubting the quality of your own work

45:38 Tips to overcome self-doubt

46:59 Fostering self-belief and the path of flow

48:03 Tips for honing self-belief

49:22 Saying no—weighing up commitments

53:32 A glass of rosé

53:44 Your health

54:52 The problem with sitting too much

55:17 Standing to work

56:15 Exercise ideas

57:30 Earthing yourself

58:11 Vit D and supplements

59:01 Nutrition—micronutrients

1:00:38 Surround yourself with uplifting people

1:02:29 Wrap up

1:03.00 Coming next week

1:03:55 The end

Music: Ukulele Whistle by Scott Holmes

PODCAST LINKS

Work Life Bliss with Emma Grey

Kids’ Book Review

Dimity Powell

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

Superfoods by David Wolfe

LINKS

taniamccartney.com

facebook.com/TaniaMcCartneyAuthor

twitter.com/TaniaMcCartney

instagram.com/taniamccartney

The Fantastical Flying Creator

COMING UP

Chapter Seven – Dee White, author, on seeding, travelling, researching and progressing book ideas.

children's books kids' books work life balance the creative life health creative settings writing illustrating author illustrator


HELLO!

Welcome to Chapter Five of The Happy Book. In this chapter, I’ll be welcoming friend and author and editor extraordinaire, Irma Gold. We’ll be chatting about the editing process—how to edit your own work, how to work with an editor in a publishing house, and thoughts on hiring an editor.

Irma will have priceless tips from her decades of editing experience, and between the two of us, there may or may not be some grammar Nazi stuff going on! You’re going to learn A LOT.

Fire up your device, cram in those earbuds and enjoy this foray into the magical world of kids’ book creation. If you have any questions or comments, you can say hello at books@taniamccartney.com.

I’m Tania McCartney and I’m an author, illustrator and editor of children’s books. I’ve always wanted to live inside a book, and now I practically do. Welcome to The Happy Book.


GUEST – IRMA GOLD

Irma Gold is an award-winning author and editor of books for adults and children. Her short fiction has been widely published in anthologies and Australia’s best literary journals. She is also the author of a collection of short fiction called Two Steps Forward, and three picture books. A fourth picture book, Seree’s Story, is in the works with Walker Books. Her recently completed literary fiction novel won the Writing NSW Varuna Fellowship and was awarded both CAPO and artsACT development grants. Irma has worked as an editor for almost 20 years and in 2014 was awarded a special one-off award for Outstanding Service to Writing and Publishing in the ACT and Region. She is currently Convener of Editing at the University of Canberra and Ambassador for the Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge.


SHOW NOTES

00:35 Introduction

01:36 About Irma

02:25 A cup of dandelion coffee and an Earl Grey tea

03:33 How Irma began her editing journey

06:02 Irma’s current editing roles

07:48 Editing between several genres

08:37 Irma’s favourite genre

09:03 Are there texts that are uneditable?

10:30 What does Irma most love about the editing process?

12:12 So many people create a book, not just the author

13:10 The difference between structural editing, copy editing, proofreading

15:03 Editing a picture book

16:42 Not wanting an editor to ‘change’ your work

18:10 The editor/author relationship is a dialogue

18:34 The editor’s role is not to tell you what to do

19:22 What happens at the structural editing stage

20:42 The author/edit standoff—picking your battles

22:55 The author won’t always be right, the editor won’t always be right

24:04 Should brand new authors hold their tongue on edits?

25:55 Emerging authors rejecting every single change

26:33 Voice

29:46 When an editor tries to rewrite your work

31:56 What punctuation and grammar mistakes do authors make over and over again?

33:47 Manuscripts with structural issues: prepping to send to a publisher

35:22 The importance of reading in learning how to write

37:18 How are picture books edited?

39:06 Are picture books easy to write?

40:37 There’s a big difference between a story and an account

41:22 Picture book resolution

42:20 Should writers edit as they go?

44:50 Writing is a process of discovery

45:46 How does an author know when to stop self-editing?

47:11 Showing your manuscript to too many people

48:18 Advice on working well with an editor

50:28 Editing for the market

52:24 Subjectivity in editing/manuscript assessments

55:55 Editing and proofreading courses

57:15 What does a typical day look like for Irma?

59:51 What’s next for Irma

1:01:22 Wrap up

1:01:50 Coming up next week

1:02:08 A large glass of sparkling mineral water and an apple dusted in cinnamon

1:02:30 The End


Music: Ukulele Whistle by Scott Holmes


PODCAST LINKS

irmagold.com

twitter.com/Irma_Gold

instagram.com/irma.gold

Neuroecology Punctuation in Novels


LINKS

taniamccartney.com

facebook.com/TaniaMcCartneyAuthor

twitter.com/TaniaMcCartney

instagram.com/taniamccartney

The Fantastical Flying Creator


COMING UP

Chapter Six – We’ll be exploring the creative life balance—your schedule, environment, health, maximising production, getting over creative blocks, self-sabotage, running your own race and much more.

editing children's books picture books writing illustrating editors proofreading authors illustrators emerging authors


HELLO!

Welcome to Chapter Four of The Happy Book. In this chapter, I’ll be talking directly to those creators who have been at this game a while, but the content will absolute suit newbies, too (you could take notes for later!).

This is for those who feel they’ve learned and grown as an author or illustrator but need to take things up a notch—whether to finally secure publication, hone professional illustration skills, bite the bullet by creating a great website or marketing campaign, or securing bigger, better contracts.

It’s your chance to take control of and plan your future—to take steps that will lead you to the next level. We’ll talk about honing skills, furthering your education, hiring professionals, mentorships, internships, assessments and… how to handle rejection. We’ll also cover groups, organisations and affiliations that you can be involved with, volunteering and creating your own initiatives (just like this podcast!).

Fire up your device, cram in those earbuds and enjoy this foray into the magical world of kids’ book creation. If you have any questions or comments, you can say hello at books@taniamccartney.com.

I’m Tania McCartney and I’m an author, illustrator and editor of children’s books. I’ve always wanted to live inside a book, and now I practically do. Welcome to The Happy Book.


SHOW NOTES

00:35 Introduction

01:35 A glass of sparkling mineral water and slices of pink lady apple doused in cinnamon

01:45 It’s not all about the book

02:52 Who wants to do the same thing forever?

04:05 Your happiness levels—you want to enjoy what you do

05:42 Study and courses to advance your career

07:09 Procrastination

08:01 Course recommendations

13:14 Courses in proofreading and editing

14:13 Hiring an editor

16:20 Feedback and its subjectivity; how to deal with it

17:42 Manuscript and portfolio assessments

18:24 Mentors

20:47 Internships

23:33 Chicken, cubes of haloumi, red cabbage and spinach

23:46 Groups and associations

29:00 Volunteering

29:55 Initiatives

30:20 Kids’ Book Review

31:59 The 52-Week Illustration Challenge

33:15 Ask Tania column

33:56 Instagram auction—A Bear a Day/A Fleur a Day

34:55 The Fantastical Flying Creator workshop

35:41 Etsy store—selling your books and artwork

37:01 Online presence

40:12 Collateral

41:15 Visual branding and recognition

42:43 Just write, just illustrate

44:05 Take advantage of slow times

44:43 Invest in yourself

45:00 Rejection and criticism

48:31 Rejection reasons and variables

51:25 A lovely beetroot lattè

52:07 Coming next week

52:59 The End


Music: Ukulele Whistle by Scott Holmes


PODCAST LINKS

Pinerolo Children’s Book Cottage

Lilla Rogers’ Make Art That Sells

Nina Rycroft’s Picture Book Illustration Classes

Dee White’s Writing Classes for Kids

Dee White’s Tuesday Writing Tips

www.masterclass.com

svslearn.com

lynda.com

Jen Storer’s Scribbles

Jen Storer’s The Duck Pond

Australian Writers Centre

Australian Society of Authors (ASA)

The Copyright Agency

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA)

Illustrators Australia

The Style File

Books in Homes

Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge (ACT)

Australian Reading Hour

Indigenous Literacy Foundation

Australian Children’s Laureate

The National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature

The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation

The Australian Libraries and Information Association

Libraries ACT

Creative Kids’ Tales

Just Write for Kids

Pass it On E-Zine

Buzzwords E-Zine

Kids’ Book Review

The 52-Week Illustration Challenge

Nicky Johnston

Ask Tania column

The Fantastical Flying Creator


LINKS

taniamccartney.com

facebook.com/TaniaMcCartneyAuthor

twitter.com/TaniaMcCartney

instagram.com/taniamccartney


COMING UP

Chapter Five – Irma Gold, author and editor extraordinaire, talks editing your work … and working with an editor.

children's books picture books publishing writing career development illustration authors illustrators books