Chatting with Jane Massey about MY DADDY AND ME (+ Giveaway!)

Just in time for Super Tuesday (have you voted?), I’m super happy to report some news of my own. It’s Pub Day for My Daddy and Me, a padded board book from Cartwheel Books/Scholastic—and I’m thrilled to celebrate with its acclaimed illustrator, Jane Massey, visiting from the south coast of England.

(If you’re interested in how a picture book manuscript wound up in board book format, you can read the backstory over here.)

Here’s a quick summary from Kirkus: “This rhyming board book follows fathers and children through a typical day for a toddler and parent, starting with waking up and continuing until bath-and bedtime . . . The art and words create a loving, nurturing tone . . . Sweet and affectionate.”

For a chance to win a copy, just leave a comment below.

And now, to our guest! Jane Massey has illustrated and written many children’s books, designed greeting cards and product packaging, and has a popular and incredibly charming Instagram page. And here she is . . .

LA:  Jane, your books and Instagram feed are filled with so many adorable babies and toddlers. And, of course, I love the dads and little ones featured in My Daddy and Me. Like these, for example:

Where did you find inspiration for the characters? Were they based on anyone in particular?

JM:  I don’t usually base my characters on one specific person. My Daddy and Me features several different Dads so I did find some reference material online but tried not to follow it too closely. I find that if I use photographic reference my drawings tighten up. If I become too worried about getting a pose accurate the image can lose the emotion. I will do several sketches for each image but often the first one is the best.

LA: In addition to your many books, you’ve designed all sorts of products and packaging. Can you tell us about your background?

JM: I studied Graphic Design at University and worked for two London design agencies specialising in packaging before I decided to go freelance and try and develop a career in illustration. I had a lucky break getting a commission to illustrate a packaging range through a contact from my design background. It took me a couple more years to develop a style that appealed to publishers. At first I worked on educational books and then gradually started getting commissions from London publishing houses.

LA: Do you have a favorite type of project to work on? 

JM: I am happiest when I have a mix of briefs to work on. Illustrating picture books can be quite challenging. The finished result looks quite simple but it takes months of deliberation to get there. I like the often fast turnaround of design projects and seeing my work in different formats.

LA:  Can you tell us a bit about where you live? And maybe share a peek of your workspace? 

JM:  I have lived in Hove on the South Coast of England for the last 20 years. I love that I have the sea to one side and the South Downs on the other. I like that Brighton & Hove is very open minded and creative. 

LA: What’s a typical day like for you?

JM: I am quite disciplined but I don’t have a set timetable for my day. I usually take time out during the morning to have a walk and to do errands and go for a coffee. I have always worked from home as I like the flexibility of being able to fit my work around family life. I find the evenings are often my most productive time. I try not to work past 9 pm as I need to wind down.

LA: I’m excited that this book’s companion—My Mommy and Me—will be out next year.  What else have you got in the works?

JM:  I have lots of exciting projects in the pipeline but am sworn to secrecy. I am working with publishers in the States, Australia and UK this year and am also working on design commissions. I am continuing to develop my own print range and plan to take my characters on to greeting cards and merchandising.

LA: So nice chatting with you, Jane. Thanks for stopping by!

Book Giveaway!

For a chance to win a copy of My Daddy and Me, leave a comment below by March 15th. I’ll announce the winner in my March 31st post.


And thanks, as always, for reading!

Linda

Avatar

Linda Ashman

Linda Ashman is the author of more than 35 picture books, as well as The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books, a “how to” e-book for picture book writers.

33 Comments:

  1. Congratulations, Linda & Jane! Jane, I like your colorfully decorated bookshelves! Cute illustrations.

  2. What a great topic for a picture book. Yay for dads!
    And the illustrations look wonderful.

  3. Happy pub day, Linda and Jane!

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    Deborah A Buschman

    Congrats Linda and Jane. I love dad books and am so happy that you are doing a mom book too. The text and illustrations are wonderful.

  5. What an adorable and loving look at the father/child relationship. Thanks for a peek into your process.

  6. The book looks great, looking forward to reading it!

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    Debra Kempf Shumaker

    Happy Book Birthday! Looks like an absolutely delightful book!

  8. Happy book birthday! This is such an adorable book! Glad there is a companion book too! Congratulations!

  9. Congrats! Super cute!

  10. Congratulation on a wonderful collaboration!

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    Danielle Hammelef

    I enjoyed reading the samples of text and seeing this adorable artwork. Thank you for sharing today and congratulations!

  12. Congratulations Linda and Jane! These board books will be loved by many young children, I’m sure!

  13. Thanks for the interview, Linda. The book looks darling.

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    Janet Frenck Sheets

    “The finished result looks quite simple but it takes months of deliberation to get there.” — It sounds like illustrators and writers face the same challenge! Thanks for sharing a bit of your process.

  15. Congratulations Linda and Jane! What a lovely book collaboration. Can’t wait to see more. Thanks for the peek into your process Jane.

  16. I love the flow and found myself reading the text over and over with a smile. I like the idea of more than one kind of dad.

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    Catherine Morgans

    Congratulations, it looks gorgeous.

  18. MY DADDY AND ME is sweet and tender. You’ve got a wonderful book!

  19. I love books about Dads and kids. This one looks precious—I’d love to have a copy even though my son is now 14 🙂

  20. Michelle Meadows
    Michelle Meadows

    Charming rhymes and illustrations! Congrats, Linda & Jane!

  21. Happy Book Birthday. What an adorable book. Hooray for dads!

  22. What a truly adorable looking story. I love the illustrations. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  23. Beautiful!!!

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    Margaret Aitken

    I have been a fan of Jane’s work ever since my son was born (he’s now 7!). She illustrated a book called “One Little Baby” and it is still a family favorite. Thanks for this great interview.

  25. Congratulations! The book looks delightful! Children love books that rhyme and make them smile, this will do both.

  26. This looks like such a sweet book. Can’t wait to see My Mommy and Me too!

  27. Congrats on another lovely book, Linda!! Happy slightly belated book birthday!!

  28. This looks adorable and a perfect baby shower gift! Congratulations!

  29. Thank you for this lovely interview. It’s so fun to see Jane’s whimsical work space – such a joyous environment! Congratulations, Linda and Jane, on your new book.

  30. Avatar
    Shauntrell Leaks

    My 1st graders would love this book. Nice to see a dad in the role of caregiver 😀.

  31. Congrats on this collaboration, Linda and Jane! This title looks adorable and I look forward to its companion about Mom. =)

  32. Oh, gosh, Linda. Everything about this book looks ADORABLE! Loved reading about Jane, too.

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