Photo credit: Katie Emery Photography

Photo credit: Katie Emery Photography

TINA KüGLER draws and paints her quirky artwork digitally and works very hard to make it look like she is not using a computer at all. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, three sons and an enormous hairy dog (named Harry).

Tina wrote and illustrated SNAIL AND WORM, a collection of easy reader stories about two small friends (2016 Houghton Mifflin Books for Young Readers). The sequel, SNAIL AND WORM AGAIN, is a 2018 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book.

IN MARY'S GARDEN (2015, HMH), written and illustrated by Tina and her husband Carson Kugler, is a biographical picture book about the life and work of Wisconsin artist Mary Nohl.

Tina illustrated THE CHANGE YOUR NAME STORE (2014) and its sequel, NO MORE BEIGE FOOD (2016), both written by Leanne Shirtliffe and published by Sky Pony Press.

She spent ten years drawing storyboards in the animation industry for studios such as Walt Disney, Nickelodeon, and Warner Bros. She also owned a children's bookshop and worked in the youth department of a public library. Tina is also a Cub Scout leader and has little to no spare time.

Tina is represented by Teresa Kietlinski at Bookmark Literary.

Interviews and links:

July 2015- SNAIL AND WORM cover reveal with Mr. Schu

February 2015- An interview with the Sub-It Club about IN MARY'S GARDEN

December 2014- IN MARY'S GARDEN book trailer and interview with Mr. Schu

January 2014- An interview with the Sub-It Club, about promo postcards

June 2013- An interview with author Brianna Caplan Sayres, about THE CHANGE YOUR NAME STORE and IN MARY'S GARDEN


Q. I want to be an illustrator. Where do I start?

A. Here are some resources to get you started:
First, I can't say enough good things about SCBWI, the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. They are a great source of information & provide tons of opportunities for networking.

Also, here is a very good book about illustrating children's books, Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz. This link takes you to Amazon, but your local library may carry it too, or you can likely order it from your local independent bookshop.

The annual Children's Writers' & Illustrators' Market s helpful, this is a large paperback that comes out every year. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the current-year copy at your library, and/or you may choose to mark yours up with notes, so it may be worth buying.

Here are a few helpful links about building a portfolio:

Most importantly, draw, draw, draw! Your characters need to convey life and emotion, and you can't get that from drawing from photographs. Get out there & sketch people, animals at the zoo, things in motion. Having trouble finding your own unique style? It's there, believe me, you just need to unearth it. Do 10 drawings, then 10 more, then 10 more, and it will come out. Experiment with different media until you find what you love. You can worship Mary Blair, but don't mimic her style. Mary Blair was the best Mary Blair. YOU are the best at being YOU.

Post your drawings on your blog, share them on Twitter & a Facebook page, you may want to set up a Facebook page just for your art. Network, network, network. Join up with some fellow illustrators (4-ish is a good number) and start a critique group and a group blog (note: this is how I found my agent, or she found me). Give yourselves a weekly theme so the blog is updated frequently with new art. Do you need to join a paid portfolio site to promote your work? I wouldn't, instead use your promotional fund (if you have one) for sending postcards of your work to editors & art directors.

Another great place to practice (& network) is Illustration Friday.

Q. I'm a children's author looking for an illustrator so I can get my book published. Will you illustrate my book for me?

A. Short answer: sorry, no. If you are an author looking for a traditional publisher, you do NOT need illustrations to submit your manuscript to agents or publishers. It is best that you don't, since the publisher prefers to match authors with illustrators themselves. Again, check out SCBWI for helpful advice.

If you are looking to self-publish, you would need to hire an illustrator and pay them yourself. Don't you DARE ask someone to illustrate it free as a "favor" or "for exposure" or "for experience." Would you do that with your dentist, or your accountant? Art is work, it may be enjoyable, but it is still work, and artists have material costs and schooling costs and TIME costs. (Note: if you reading this & are an artist, don't EVER give yourself away for free.)

If you are an author AND an illustrator, by all means submit your story to agents & editors with your illustrations!