Nancy Tillman's I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT

Nancy Tillman, best-selling author/illustrator of On the Night You Were Born has created another wonderfully inspirational book called I Knew You Could Do It. It's an apropos book for graduates and well, anyone right now. Nancy stopped by to share more about it...
e: What was your creative process/medium for I Knew You Could Do It, can you walk us through it?
Nancy: I work digitally, Elizabeth. I work with hundreds of layers in Photoshop, navigating to what I see in my mind. Then I paint with Corel Painter, using whatever medium feels right.
e: In your artwork, do you work with photographs and models? Or do you draw everything from scratch?
Nancy: I use lots of stock photos, and lots of pieces of photos, to create a collage that I add paint to. So when you see this lion I’ve created, for instance, it is many pieces of lion that I’ve arranged in a position I like. I used three different stock photos of cubs… and added paint and feet. I placed the group on a log and added other elements. In this illustration, from I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love, there is a mom watching from the back. I used red throughout the book anytime the mom was present.
e: Am I seeing a different style between On the Night You Were Born and I Knew You Could Do It?
I’ve published sixteen books and my style has evolved or changed with each one. You are correct!
e: Might you have any thumbnail stages or sketches/mock-ups you could share?
I don’t work with thumbnails… I start with one layer and add elements with new layers. I can show you an illustration that is about 50% done and then finished.
This is the woman with the fox in a field.
e: I know you work digitally, but would it be possible to share a photo of your computer work station?
My studio is just a wacom tablet and pen, computer and printer! Because I work digitally I am able to print my illustrations and correct until I get the color I like. Then the commercial printer can match each illustration.
e: What was your path to publication?
I self-published On the Night You Were Born in 2004. I sold enough books that year to pique the interest of an agent, who sold the book to Feiwel and Friends. Since then, with the exception of a book I illustrated with Desmond Tutu, Feiwel and Friends has published all of my books.
e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of I Knew You Could Do It?
Gosh, it was quite hilarious trying to create three bears playing tug-of-war!
e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
Nancy: If an illustration invites children to step into it, I would call that “heart art". I try to create many magical, wide open spaces that children can imagine themselves stepping into.
e: How do you advertise yourself (or do you)? 
Nancy: I really don’t advertise myself.. my publisher does most of that… but I love to connect with my readers at my Facebook Page, twitter, Children’s Author, and my Instagram site nancytillmanauthor.
e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator? 
Nancy: It is my dearest wish to give parents words to say how they feel about their children, no matter how old those children are.
e: Is there something in particular about I Knew You Could Do It you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
I’ve hidden fairytale references throughout the book, which was fun to do! I also hope readers know that this book is applicable to everyday successes, and for graduation!
e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
Nancy: I have a book publishing in September, Because You’re Mine. It’s about the devotion and protection parents feel for their children, even into adulthood.
“The moment that you came along,
my heart grew mighty, fierce and strong
and everything just fell from view.
All that I could see was you.
The rain can come,
the snow can fall,
the clouds can blow,
the wind can call…
but they’ll just have to wait in line.
Because you’re mine.
Because you’re mine.”

e: Lovely! Can't wait to see it. Thanks for stopping by, Nancy.

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