Welcome to The Art of an Illustrator with Daniela Glyntzos!

It’s such a privilege to welcome another amazing author-illustrator as a part of our The Art of an Illustrator series. Daniela Glyntzos is a writer, artist, and Visual Arts educator, who has added an absolutely enchanting piece to the Our Australian HeART anthology. ‘The Little Things’ is a bold statement piece with its pop, pop, pops of colours, its gorgeous variety of Australian flora and sweet spotty Zebra Finches that, from its ‘bird’s-eye’ view, projects a sense of whimsy and serenity at the same time. You can almost get lost in the rustling leaves and chirping bird sounds. Stunning!

Thanks for sharing your story behind your work with us, Daniela! 🙂

About the Illustrator

Daniela Glyntzos (Dani G) is a high school Visual Arts educator and artist trained in both traditional media and graphic design. When she is not in the classroom, Dani is working on local art exhibitions and competitions which has seen her work displayed in numerous community kerbside exhibitions and local art exhibitions such as Rediscovering Camden and The Camden Art Prize.

Dani G describes herself as an ‘all-rounder’ (sort of like Leonardo Da Vinci, minus the mathematical and engineering skills) when creating her art, working in both traditional media and technology. Her traditional forms and materials include the use of painting, watercolour, printmaking techniques, mixed media, and paper craft.

Over time, Dani G has progressed towards technology as her main medium. She uses digital media and photography to form her art using programs and technology including Procreate, Illustrator, Photoshop, Apple Pencil, and iPad.

Her inspiration comes from the people, shapes, and nature around her, and she is influenced by the themes of culture/food, traditions, the environment and flora and fauna. She loves the use of colour, particularly the use of block colours and stark outlines, working in freeform and quite organically to create unique contemporary designs and illustrations.

Please visit Daniela Glyntzos at her website: www.danig.com.au and on Instagram.

Our Australian HeART can be purchased via the Just Write For Kids Australia website.

Donations can be made directly to our fundraising page at The Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Daniela, thank you for joining me to chat about your amazing work!

How did you come to be an artist?

I’ve always had a fascination in art and design. As a child I loved animation and grew up watching traditionally drawn cartoons like Snow White and Pinocchio. I found myself drawn to the colours, movements, expressions, and design of the characters more than anything else and just knew I wanted to pursue a career revolving around the arts.

What does art and illustrating children’s books mean to you?

Art has this amazing thing to bring joy and different experiences to everyone who views it. It could mean different things to different people bringing joys, past memories, recalled experiences and strong emotions. Children’s books have this quality about them that can take the reader and listener to a new world or make us think about the world around us in so many ways. To me illustrating is a way to portray a powerful message or create these experiences through art.

Tell us a bit about your published works.

Our Australian HeArt is one of those published works that brings such a sentimental spirit to those who read it. I love being part of this anthology surrounded by talented artists, all with their different styles of depicting Australia in unique and fun ways. The book centres around a range of themes including nature, diversity, society and culture, land and seascapes and the environment.

What does your illustration process look like?

My art process is quite loose and expressive. I like to do research at times and often use photography to get up nice and close to nature or objects around me. I like taking photographs too, as I have more control with composition and direction which helps me when I go to draw. Often, I like working with bright block colours and shapes to create really organic pieces. I like to print my designs and get right up close to them to evaluate and see any changes or edits I should make or use a lead pencil to draw on changes that I can’t easily do on a desktop.

What drew you to enter the Just Write For Kids’ Picture It! Anthology Competition?

I was in a bit of a low period trying to decide where I was going with my writing journey. I started experimenting with junior fiction and middle grade writing and felt a bit stumped. When I first saw the competition pop up online, I felt this could be a sign for me to try and work with illustrating a children’s picture book which was something I always had at the back of my mind, but didn’t know if I had the skills to be a good illustrator. I left it for a while and had a bit of imposter syndrome, but Romi was fantastic and had a group chat with anyone interested in entering and saw how supportive she was with everyone, I felt the confidence to have a go and enter. I ended up entering literally the day it was due that night and hoped for the best!  

Your entry, The Little Things, was selected as one of our pieces for the anthology. We love it! What does it mean to you to be included?

It means the world to be included in this gorgeous book! It was also a bit of clarification that my art is good and others think so too! I feel very privileged to be the final page of the book giving kids a fun experience to find and examine the little things around us. I also love that a portion of proceeds are being donated to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation to I feel great to be able to help contribute to that.

Why were you inspired to create this piece?

For me once I read the brief, I knew I wanted to do flora and fauna and black and white with a hint of colour. I love nature and had this idea at first to do a vase filled with Australian flowers and plants, but I decided to change the idea because I had already had the title of my text in my head ‘the little things’ and realised a vase of flowers wouldn’t work, especially since I wanted to play with perspective of objects and probably wouldn’t resonate well with children. So, I decided to ditch the idea and depict a range of Australian flowers/plants from different angles focusing on their patterns and shapes we often overlook. I was going to add a cockatoo as the bird, but decided on a lesser known one the Australian Zebra finch for their unique patterns, and essentially, they are ‘black and white with a pop of colour’ plus I grew up with them so they are close to my heart.

In what other ways do you spread the joy of art to children?

Being an art educator in the past I always tried to bring different art styles that my students would really connect with. As much as I love the classics like Monet or Caravaggio, a class of year 7s and 8s who where it is compulsory for them to do visual arts in their studied was a tough crowd to please! But once I started introducing them to other radical styles of art like Banksy who spray paints walls and created an assessment task to create an artwork on a skateboard relating to issues or a message in the world they were hooked! (Of course, I also covered the classics eventually but at that stage they tolerated it a lot more after having a cool skateboard to take home!)

I also volunteer with a local community that organises parent and children meet ups and playgroups. My job as a volunteer is to create art packs for the children and its been great to see all the wonderful works they have made. Their little smiles just make my day! My children love the art packs too because they get to test them out before anyone else!

Thanks so much, Daniela! It’s been an honour! 😊

#illustratorinterview #ouraustralianheart #thelittlethings #picturebooks #justkidslit

Our Australian HeART by Just Write For Kids Australia and Friends is published by Daisy Lane Publishing.

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