Meet The Illustrator: Lydia Corry


Publishing in April 2021 and ideal for early readers, THE TINDIMS AND THE TEN GREEN BOTTLES continues the whimsical adventures of The Tindims of Rubbish Island, written by Sally Gardner and illustrated by Lydia Corry, the series features an entertaining cast of miniature characters and expert recyclers, who live by the motto, ‘What is rubbish today is treasure tomorrow’.

I couldn’t resist the chance to interview Lydia, and take a peek at her illustration process…


Rough Sketch for Cover – Book 3

The idea for THE TINDIMS series started with a conversation I had with my mother on a walk along the beach, close to where we both now live. We started imagining a floating island made completely of rubbish, then we imagined who might live there and the Tindims were born.


Map of Rubbish Island

My five-year-old daughter is fascinated by the sea and like most children she is very aware of the problems of rubbish in the oceans. We both felt that the Tindims would hugely appeal to her, especially if, as well as communicating their vital message of conservation, they would also have lots and lots of adventures!


My mum, the author Sally Gardner, was very keen to write the stories and I was very keen to illustrate them. We took the idea to Fiona Kennedy at Zephyr books who loved it and was immediately encouraging.

Tindims-sketchBefore Sally really started work on the stories, we first spent a lot of time developing the characters. Sally came up with the characters amazing names and I made sketches. I first concentrated on shapes and silhouettes to try and make sure each character was distinguishable. Then I made more detailed pencil sketches. The names stuck but the characters went through many versions before I got them right.


Once Sally had finished the text we worked closely together going through the manuscript and plotting out the layouts. As these stories are early reading books it felt very important that the illustrations should help propel the story. We wanted it to feel very illustrated; with pictures on every page, there are even some spreads in the book that have no text at all. We worked closely with Jessie Price the brilliant designer at Zephyr to create a layout that would be dynamic and fun to look at with lots of detail. The illustrations were painted using black gouache on paper.

Tindims-boatWorking with my mother on this series was such a collaborative process and very different from anything else I’ve done before.

We spent such a long time imagining the Tindim’s that their world has really become part of our lives.

One of the nicest things about making this series is now I can read them to my daughter, and as we knew she would, she loves them!


Like all Gardner’s books, THE TINDIMS AND THE TEN GREEN BOTTLES is printed in a dyslexia-friendly font while Corry’s cheery illustrations break up the text on every page. With an additional counting element and a hidden bug to spot on certain pages, this is the perfect series for 5 to 8-year-olds of all reading abilities. Inspired by daily strolls along the Sussex coastline, Gardner’s celebrated, pitch-perfect storytelling will feed the imagination of young ecologists, empowering them to get creative with rubbish in order to help protect and preserve our planet.


Book 3

The fourth and final book in the The Tindims series, THE TINDIMS AND THE FLOATING MOON, will publish in June 2021.

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