One of the most exciting moments of my journey towards having my first children’s book published has been discovering that the publisher, Margrete Lamond from Little Hare asked Anna Pignataro to illustrate Too Busy Sleeping, and Anna said yes!
I haven’t met Anna in person yet, but we had a little chat over email, and I would love to share our conversation with you here. The images are from B Is For Bedtime, illustrated by Anna and written by Margaret Hamilton, which will be released in March this year by Little Hare. These illustrations are in the style of those that will be created by Anna for my own book, Too Busy Sleeping.
Meet Anna Pignataro…
I suppose the journey begins in childhood when I dreamed of illustrating fairytales. I have always loved books and art and spent most of my childhood and growing years drawing. I studied Fine Art and Design for seven years on a scholarship and then travelled extensively through Europe and England. On my return I put together a folio of illustrations of my own and sent them out to various publishers. I was very lucky. Allen and Unwin contacted me immediately and I had my first picture book contract. From that first book I won the Crichton Award and really I have been in work ever since. After years of illustrating I was given the chance to write my own story, Always, with Scholastic and so have now created over sixty books for children. Always has been in print since 2006 and is being re-released as a board book this year. I am published in seventeen countries and my work is translated in eleven languages. My journey continues and my work is ever evolving.
The most wonderful thing about what I do is that it allows me be a child forever and I love that it transports me to other imaginary worlds of my own.
I am constantly trying to be better and I find that my worst critic is me. It’s challenging when there’s so much technology out there and I have to keep up with it. It’s also challenging that there is never enough paper to write down and draw all the ideas I have in my head!
My greatest inspiration is nature – I love trees especially. I am inspired by windy days, rain, people I meet, old movies… I usually start with a sketch of a character or a few words or sentences that I think sound haunting or timeless. I have books full of ideas and often I will have to stop the car and pull over and type into my phone an idea that’s popped into my head. I have also dreamed of some of my characters or ideas.
I always start with pencil drawings or ink drawings – colour comes later. I love doing detailed black and white drawings but unfortunately they are not as popular in picture books as colour. My favourite medium is watercolour and now I tend to use more collage.
My best work is done in my studio at home all alone and quiet.
B is for Bedtime is a really lovely A B C book with a difference. I used vintage material, felt and pencil with watercolour and made a lot of the ‘things’ in it myself, like the blanket. It was great fun to work on. It has a funny little dog throughout the narrative that almost has a life of his own. It’s a very sweet, calm book perfect for bedtime.
I am very excited to be working on two very different books right now. The first is a book about a little panda and a mother panda and their journey together. The other is Beauty and the Beast which is a dream come true for me. I am also working on several large paintings and I hope to put together an exhibition in the not too distant future. They are quite different to my watercolours and five times the size!
You can visit Anna Pignataro’s website here to see more examples of her work.