photographing your books

Tuesday, 18 July 2017


If, like me, you're a bit partial to beautiful imagery, you might be tempted to bypass the standard 'author with cheesy grin and book' photo, and think about ways you can capture your titles in more creative, eye-popping ways.

While flicking through my instagram account recently, reminiscing over all the stunning pics talented people have taken of my books, it struck me how droolworthy beautiful book photos can be--both for posterity purposes, and of course--for promo.

Don't be scared--beautiful book pics are not difficult to create. Here are some tips and ideas to get you clicking.

school visits for Book Week 2017

Sunday, 16 July 2017


Celebrate the most important week of the year with a school visit! I have limited slots available from Monday 21 to Friday 26 August, for schools in Canberra and the close-by region, so book early.

Due to crushing book deadlines, I'm not able to custom-create presentations for Book Week this year, and am only offering one presentation at the moment, called I Love Books--but it's fabulous! It's a fun, highly-interactive presentation, covering book styles, genres, text, illustration, and how picture books are put together. You can learn more about it here (suitable for grades 3 - 6).

Please note that I'm only available for Book Week this year, until further notice.

Email me to inquire! I'd love to talk to come to your school and talk to the kids about why I love books. And head to the CBCA online store to purchase some of these incredible Book Week 2017 products (by Freya Blackwood) to zhoozh up your classrooms and library!


Australia map--the entire thing!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

http://taniamccartney.blogspot.com.au/2017/07/australia-map-entire-thing.html

Okay, can't wait a moment longer. Here's the entire Australia map! (Hardie Grant Travel, Dec 2017.)

I hope enjoyed this peek at my latest dream project. It's one of those endeavours I didn't want to end.

Keep an eye out for the map in shops and online, in time for Christmas.

If you would like some close-ups, see...

Queensland
Northern Territory and South Australia

Australia map peek II

Monday, 3 July 2017


Today I thought we could head over to the Northern Territory, for a peek at my Australia map (Hardie Grant Travel, Dec 2017). From honey ants to dilly bags, bush tomatoes and sacred sites, this is a territory of vast beauty and cultural significance.

Then, I thought we could meander south...


...to South Australia. From the Painted Desert to vineyards, lofty ranges, the Nullarbor Plain and the vast Southern Ocean, this is yet another state of extremes.

Stay tuned for a peek at the entire thing!

See...
Queensland
Northern Territory and South Australia
The entire map!


a dream project - Australia map!

Saturday, 1 July 2017


We all have dream projects, do we not? And sometimes they are curious things. For me, it's been a Christmas book, a map, an ABC book, a book about balloons, among others. Don't know why it's been these particular things; it just has.

This year, the magical dream project pixies fluttered in from a nearby wood, and granted two creative wishes--and one of them was a map.

A map! Hyperventilating.

This one is called Australia and it was some delightful journey, traversing--yet again--our big, beautiful land, exploring and learning even more about this incredibly diverse continent. I worked closely with the amazing Emily from Hardie Grant Travel to create this enormous--nearly 1.5 metres wide!--wall map. And I loved each and every minute. Very soon I'll be working on the packaging design, for a December 2017 publication.

Created with ink, watercolour and digital artwork, the map features flora, fauna, icons, sights and sites, along with Indigenous rock art sites and shipwrecks. There's also a key with over 250 labels, and fun facts dotted around in yellow spots.

I'm delighted to share the map with you, starting with our beautiful Sunshine State, Queensland. I'll take you through a peek at a few states, with a final glimpse at the entire map.

Huge thanks to commissioning editor Melissa Kayser for approaching me with this truly divine project. A major tick on the Dream Project list.

See...

Northern Territory and South Australia
The entire map!



the low points

Saturday, 24 June 2017

soaring high before the low - barn owl pin by Jess Racklyeft

Recently, I had the most glorious news--something I've been waiting a career lifetime for. I'm still pinching myself, and the project has deep meaning to me. I might have even leapt in the air. Very soon, I'll be starting work on it, and this will be immensely happy-making.

This kind of news has happened to me before. Then not long after, it's been snatched away (for a variety of reasons), and I've found myself on the floor. This may also have happened to you. The floor is a very supportive place, non?

I have every faith there'll be no snatching, but it's been nevertheless interesting to experience quite the plummet since receiving this news. After discussing with friends, it seems this is a natural phenomenon. Just as we go up, we must come down. And of course, the creative career path is rife with intense highs and crushing lows. The rollercoaster metaphor could never be more apt.

The frustrating thing is, I'm currently working on two illustration commissions that I'm loving to bits, so I should be smiling from ear to ear. What, then, is the issue?

A Kiwi Year/A Canadian Year gadding about the globe

Tuesday, 20 June 2017


in Little Angel magazine

It's so lovely to see A Kiwi Year and A Canadian Year gadding about the interweb, scaling snow-covered mountains and hopping trout-laden streams. Seems kids everywhere are as enamoured as Tina Snerling and I when it comes to travel, exploring new places, and the joys and mind-expansion of multiculturalism.

Here are some of the jaunts the books have taken. Thank you to everyone for these lovely reviews! I hope your kids enjoy this romp around two of the most incredible countries on earth.

in New Idea magazine

A Canadian Year/A Kiwi Year on Literacy, Families and Learning

A Canadian Year/A Kiwi Year on Kids' Book Review 

A Kiwi Year on The Children's Bookshop, NZ

A Kiwi Year on The Bottom Shelf

Review A Canadian Year/A Kiwi Year on Just So Stories

Review of A Canadian Year on Hip Little One

Review of A Canadian Year/A Kiwi Year on Reading Time

Review of A Canadian Year/A Kiwi Year on In the Good Books

http://picasion.com/

Chief Minister's Reading Challenge 2017

Friday, 16 June 2017



The Chief Minister's Reading Challenge is a glorious literacy initiative in the ACT, and yesterday I had the great pleasure of visiting Maribyrnong Primary School in Canberra to chat to the kids about books, books, books--and how very much squirrels love books. These are smart kids. They agreed.

What a beautiful, warm welcome and what a clutch of bright, curious, book-loving kids (a sure sign there's some phenomenal teaching going on). Kids never, ever fail to astound and delight me with their knowledge and the way they think. It was wonderful to spend time with them, and it's great to see so many schools participating in the CMRC every year--from Canberra and our region. I love it when schools place literacy as such a high priority... it's a vital life skill, after all, and can really, truly change lives.

After a wonderful introduction, I took the kids through book type, genre and the book creation process.


I have this REALLY scary shark picture in this brilliant 3D book, which I try to scare the kids with. They never scare. They just laugh. It's so annoying.


This book, Metropolis, always elicits oohs and ahhs. It's 10 feet long. Who wouldn't ooh and ahh? Who wouldn't go bananas over books, in general? They are just that good.


Big thanks to Hannah and Jo from the CMRC for organising this visit, and for coming along. If you want to learn more about the Reading Challenge for your school, just click on the poster below. It's wonderful stuff.

http://www.education.act.gov.au/teaching_and_learning/chief_ministers_reading_challenge

Imagine if... exhibition of children's book artwork

Thursday, 8 June 2017

http://www.canberra.edu.au/national-centre-for-australian-childrens-literature/news-events

How stunning is this original artwork by Bob Graham? It will be the featured piece in the upcoming Imagine If... exhibition, run by the National Centre for Australian Children's Literature this July/August. I'm already rosy pink at the thought of this priceless peek into the work of our divine Australian book creators.

Bob's image, above, will be raffled to raise funds for the framing of NCACL artwork for future exhibitions. Could you imagine owning it? Gasp.

Running from Monday 10 July to Wednesday 30 August at the University of Canberra, don't miss this glorious opp to immerse yourself in picture book illustration glory. Details on the exhibition, its location at UC and the raffle, can be found here.Yes, you can buy raffle tickets even if you don't live in Canberra, so hop to it and good luck (gasp!).

Bob Graham (image credit: Carolyn Graham)


Ask Tania: Coping with publisher critiques at conferences and festivals

Sunday, 28 May 2017


WARNING: this post is frank!

Dear Tania
I recently travelled to Melbourne for the KidLitVic Conference and had a really great time meeting up with people I've known for a long time, and sucking in all the information I could. To be honest, it was a bit overwhelming, and then I sat through a manuscript critique with an editor who was either having a really crabby day or just wanted to be mean. It left me feeling disillusioned and disappointed that someone who's meant to be a professional couldn't even say something good about my work.
I'm just not sure how to take this and I feel like giving up.
Disappointed


Dear Disappointed,

First and foremost, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Everyone receives 'bad' critiques. Everyone. From emerging to published, experienced creators. Everyone's work falls across the desk of someone who doesn't get it, doesn't resonate with it, or just plain doesn't like it.

The subjectivity that comes with this territory is ENORMOUS. I cannot overstate this enough. I've spoken before about a junior fiction/middle grade book I shopped around to four large publishers who each came back with entirely, and I mean ENTIRELY, different feedback. There was not one single parallel on anything each of them said. It was actually quite remarkable how divergent their comments were, to the point where what one publisher loved and thought worked brilliantly, someone else thought woeful.

quacking through a quakerview with the queen quacker--Jen Storer of Girl and Duck

Friday, 26 May 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njQKq5cBzrQ&index=1&list=PLiDJMd2zeq339MWpfThfGvtrJ4zPJJgvV

You know those dreamy goals you add to the bucketlist in your mind? New York Times Bestseller List. An Haussmann apartment in Paris. The thighs of an athlete with five per cent body fat. Interviewing for Girl and Duck in the Quackerview series of inspirational videos.

Last weekend, while in Melbourne for KidLitVic, I had the great honour of achieving the latter (still working on 1, 2 and 3), entering Duck Pond HQ to chat with the queen of the quackers, Jen Storer, Children's Author and Chief Inspirationalist at Girl and Duck. My goodness, we had fun. Like, seriously. We could have talked for HOURS--or weeks even. Maybe even years.

We talked books, industry, writing, illustration, honing your craft, conferences, career isolation, career progression, picture book collaboration and construction, transitioning from writer to illustrator and much, much more (like, seriously more). We laughed, we gasped, we drove points home and nodded in ferocious agreement. It was a fascinating discussion and I'm loving the bloopers at the end!


Huge thanks to Jen, Dulcie Duckworth and the Drake (videographer, editor, IT, brilliant cook and gorgeous soul) for putting together a beautifully-crafted, slick production that was so much fun, my mouth is still sore from smiling.

Jen's inspiring and informative videos--her Questions and Quacks, and Quackerviews--can be accessed by subscribing to Girl and Duck. Subscription also allows you entry to The Duck Pond on Facebook--a truly priceless community of like-minded peeps, offering support and inspiration for your children's book journey.

Click on the image below to subscribe (free!) to Girl and Duck and exponentially forward your children's book journey.

Thanks, Jen!
x o x

https://girlandduck.com/

Works-in-progress, KidLitVic and Crystal Kite!

Monday, 22 May 2017


It's all too much. I have to get my head out of the clouds and my feet on the ground!

Still coming down from our beautiful May Gibbs event with the National Centre for Australian Children's Literature, the memory-making has continued this past week with some very happy news and an overwhelming trip to Melbourne and a slew of delightful happenings and encounters. Where will I begin??

Right. Let's start here...


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