Designing a Picture Book with Tony Palmer, Ann James and Janeen Brian

Saturday 12th of September, 2015

SAFI Tony Ann

Ann James sneaking a photos of the alternative covers that were under consideration by Tony Palmer at one stage for ‘I’m a Dirty Dinosaur.

This session gave an interesting insight into the creation of a book and the team behind ‘I’m a Dirty Dinosaur’ and ‘I’m a Hungry Dinosaur’.

Author Janeen Brian and illustrator Ann James were thrilled to see the variety of covers that had been under consideration by Tony before deciding on the eventual cover with its equal amounts of adorable and fun.

SAFI Janeen Tony

Janeen Brian and Tony Palmer talk covers

Tony talked us through his process when deciding on a cover, the typography/ font and placement. Sometimes the illustrator is involved in parts of this process, and Ann James had some input into creating different types fonts but usually the eventual decisions take place away from the eyes of the author and illustrator

I loved hearing how Tony thought he had received ‘an environmental disaster’ when he received Ann’s mud covered illustrations in the mail.

Overall it was great to learn more about the creation of a picture book and the roles author, illustrator and designer play in different.

There is a team involved in the creation of a picture book and as Tony says:

‘Usually the apparatus gets it right.’

SAFI Ann James

Ann James talks about her illustrative process


After graduating from Monash University in 1985 with an honours degree in Graphic Communication Tony Palmer has worked full-time as a book designer for various publishers. He has also been a part-time typography teacher at Victoria University and is currently undertaking a Masters in Art and Design at Monash University focusing on the aesthetics of typesetting in Mandarin. As a long-time enthusiast of Australian History Tony wrote his first novel for teenagers, Break of Day which was published in 2007. Following this he wrote The Valley of Blood and Gold, published in 2011.

by Yvonne Mes


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