Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 30, 2018

Illustrator Sunday – Tony Vitali

Tony Vitale is an Illustrator raised and living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He earned his B.A. In Art and Design from DePaul University. He enjoys telling stories and creating characters to populate the worlds in which they live. Tony works in watercolor, gouache and colored pencil and loves the experience of working in traditional media. He enjoys writing, reading and going for a run outdoors where many of his ideas come to him.


It’s a spooky world of interesting characters that Tony is setting up here with these three images. The first sets the stage, so to speak. It’s rather colorless and gloomy with overcast windy sky,  and big old gnarly tree. That’s a good idea in a book…the setting determines often the tone of the story, and can tell a bit about the flow and the characters.  We do see the castle whose door we note in the next two images I think.

To address the craftsmanship of the image, I have to admit I feel it’s uneven.  The tree and foreground tree, are quite rendered, which does draw our eye…but is it the castle we’re supposed to notice?-  that is left very vague.  It IS far back so arial perspective would suggest that vagueness, but an artist has to THINK the point of each page of images….’what IS the focus point for the story and the visual?’ What details best tells the story with pictures? Maybe there is something in the ms central in this middle ground tree…with the vulture (not that clear) on the branch?  I don’t know that from only the pics, but the focus IS there.  The ‘V’ of the foreground tree forces us to view the central tree. The tree stump (again not all that clear) also ‘points’ us to the old central tree. THEN we travel slowly over to the looming distant castle.One suggestion:  The old tree doesn’t ‘sit down’ into earth well enough here. And it should….it’s been there a long long time!  It almost looks like it’s walking on three legs! A bit of shadowing and softening of the root/earth lines would fix that I think.

The second image introduces us to three ‘main characters?’  I rather like the rendered way they are presented… good detail and expressions that are different and fitting.  I am visually confused by the overlap of the two on right…I feel the ‘alien’ green character could sit/lean, stand back a bit from the gray boy maybe so we can tell clearly which arm is coming from which (the boy has none?)  The vague background fits the mood again, but the door is rather left unfinished except for the door handle and knocker… works ok, but I somehow feel the need for something…wood grain? sense of space/depth under the door?  not sure…..

The third image then I assume is the opening of the castle door (are we, or door and stones, tilted for a reason?)  Again we have a washy background and rendered focus character.  The black against  the wash color makes our host jump out. Nice use of CONTRAST.  (I probably WOULD have jumped if this character opened a door I’d knocked on!!)  As before, I like the detail and line work…it’s there, but doesn’t shout at us.  Feel still a need for a BIT more grain in wood of door maybe for those fingers to feel and press against! Always want to keep in mind the ‘weight’ and texture and ‘pressure’ of the objects and figures interplaying in any piece of art.   Oh, and what happened to the door knob? wouldn’t it show here?

Thank you Toni for sharing your images so that I could make several good points of illustration for all to benefit from hopefully!  I love the journey into and around each image.  This is what an illustrator does…. makes the written word a visual experience!  It’s truly a wonder each time!

Thank you, Chris for taking the time to review Tony’s illustrations. Your thoughts were very informative.

Below is a little bit about The CAT Agency:

The CAT Agency, Inc. is the first mother/daughter agency in the business! A trained artist herself with a BA in Fine Art, Chris Tugeau has been a pioneer in the children’s illustration industry for over 25 years. Since opening her own agency in 1994, Chris has enjoyed representing many talented artists, and has been an active part of the illustration community; writing and presenting for SCBWI regions around the country. She is also the author of SCBWI Illustrator Guidelines. A veteran artist and rep, Chris is an advocate for ethical fairness and the bright future of children’s publishing. She’s also a mother of 3, a grandmother to 8, and best friend to husband, Bill.

Daughter, Christy Tugeau Ewers, has been rooted in the children’s literature industry since Chris started the agency in 1994, and she has been surrounded by artists her entire life. Aside from her mother, her brother, Jeremy Tugeau is an exceptional fine art and children’s illustrator, represented by his wife, Nicole, at Tugeau 2. Christy’s husband, Chris Ewers, is an artist too, as a talented cinematographer and film-maker.

With a degree in English/Journalism and over a decade of experience in various creative fields, Christy offers a different perspective to the agency, while maintaining the enthusiasm and love that her mother brings to the industry. Aside from writing, her interests include seaside escapes, very hot coffee and pitbulls named Gertie.

And of course, grandchildren/children, Billie & Finnegan, are The CAT Agency’s resident experts and critics. Billie has over 5 years of experience in the world, and has formed a deep love of unicorn literature and all things Pink/Purple/anything-licious. Finn boasts a robust background in cars and trucks, with a specific expertise in MR. TIGER GOES WILD. Billie currently enjoys using every crayon in the box, while Finn likes to spend his free time dancing to The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s theme).

Here is the link to The Cat Agency:

Christina Tugeau
The CAT Agency Inc.

Talk tomorrow,




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: