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Tina Macnaughton Tina Macnaughton 

Tina Macnaughton was born in Edinburgh and did a BA Honours in Illustration before going on to work as a graphic designer for Grosvenor of London and Hasbro. She now illustrates picture books full-time. Tina loves travelling, sailing, cinema and animals. She worked in the Cayman Islands for a year before going to college, and has been on many safaris as well as sailing around Britain and Europe. She lives in Guildford.

What medium do you use to create your pictures?
I use soft pastels on tinted pastel paper with pastel pencils for fine detail. It’s brilliant for creating the soft fur of animals and snow. Plus, it’s great for instant colour, with no mixing, and makes planning a colour scheme very easy, though pastel paintings are very delicate because they smudge like crazy.

Do you listen to music or the radio while you work?
Yes, I listen to radio that has a mix of music and topical conversation, though I have found classical music is best for doing grand magical landscapes and upbeat pop music is best for doing pictures with humour.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate children’s books?
At the age of 10 or so I was asked if I was going to be an artist when I grew up and surprisingly I said “NO WAY” as I thought you could not make a living at it. Then at 14 I went to a careers evening at school and learned of graphic design and illustration, which I was delighted about because I really loved art above anything else.

Did you enjoy art at school?
Yes, it was always my favourite subject and I was always the top of my class. I even won the painting cup at sixth form college, though art school did not do much for my confidence because it’s so subjective. One teacher may love your work, but another may hate it – it is all a matter of preference. With art, there is no right or wrong answer, which can be frustrating to a young artist.

What’s the best thing about being a children’s book illustrator?
The best thing is creating worlds and characters in your head and making them come alive on paper. Not only that, it’s very, very fulfilling to know that so many people gain pleasure from looking at my pictures.

And the worst?
The worst aspect is tight deadlines and working late into the night.

You illustrated lots of different animals in SNUGGLE UP, SLEEPY ONES. Did you do much research?
Yes, I always research animals. You can never have enough reference material and I am slowly building up a collection of books on animals, plants and scenery. I also collect images from wildlife magazines, plus I spend a lot of time searching on the Web as well. Sometimes I see a pose and think “Wow, that is so cute”, and keep it for future books.

Which animal did you enjoy illustrating the most and why?
I think maybe the hedgehog because he is so small and vulnerable. Plus he gets things stuck to his prickles, which offers scope for cute humour.
Little Hedgehog

Who are your favourite illustrators?
I am a fan of John Butler whose animals are so adorable. I also love Alan Lees’ work on THE LORD OF THE RINGS novels — he has such awe-inspiring talent. He is everything any artist would wish to be.

Do you have any tips for aspiring illustrators?
Self-belief, unique painting style and passion are nothing if you have not got discipline to sit down and work without someone nagging you. You have to be very self-motivated and organised. A lot of people fail because they are not prepared to work hard. On a practical note you need financial back-up in the form of savings or a part-time job in the beginning for at least one or two years. Never enter into this with big debts because you need to give it plenty of time to grow and allow you to work at it full-time. Finally, don’t let any rejection make you depressed or destroy your confidence — even the very best artists get turned down.

What’s your favourite animal?
I am absolutely nuts about dogs. They have such funny personalities with such a lust for life that could inspire anyone. They are one of the few animals with a sense of humour.

Tina has illustrated many books for Little Tiger Press. Click on a cover to get details of the most recent ones.

inside the book

inside the book

I really love the work of this illustrator. Although the images are simple the detail and texture is wonderful and makes the animals so endearing…wonderful, and child like, and i am even more impressed to see that she uses pastels on tinted paper and pastel pencils and these are materials i totally stay away from as they are so hard to use – so i am in total awe of her! :0)