frequently asked questions
Q: I‘m interested in illustrating children’s books. How do I get started?
A: First, RESEARCH- get familiar with what is being published and the books that children enjoy. Visit the library or bookstore and spend some time in the children’s section.
Second, PORTFOLIO- work on subjects and styles that appeal to children. As you develop your art, try to create images that are unique, fresh and appropriate for children.
Third, CONNECTIONS- national and regional seminars bring authors, illustrators, editors, art directors and agents to your area. Show your portfolio and get feedback from professionals. You may want to contact the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) at: www.scbwi.org or the Children’s Book Council (CBC) at www.cbcbooks.org for more information.
Q: I have a fun story idea. Would you illustrate it?
A: From my experience, the author usually doesn’t choose who illustrates their writing. The publisher has a vision for the book and will choose an illustrator based on that vision. I would suggest that you find a publisher who is interested in your story and go from there. After you find a publisher, you can always throw my name in the hat and suggest my work but they may or may not agree. They have the final say.
Q: Do you consider self-published projects?
A: I don’t at this time because I’m really busy with other projects. I also don’t have enough time to market and sell my books, which is important for a self-published author. I like to leave most of the marketing and sales to the publisher, who has many more connections in both areas.
Q: Do you and the author work closely together on your books?
A: No. The publisher sends me the manuscript and I create sketches from my impression of the text. Sometimes, a few suggestions are forwarded from the author such as certain important character traits or a specific detail but that’s it. The author may see some sketches along the way but there is usually no direct contact during the development of the book illustrations. The publisher decides what information is relevant and should be passed from author to illustrator.
Q: Where do you get inspiration for your children’s book art?
A: Many of my characters are animals and the stories are whimsical, humorous or cute. Those are things that I enjoy capturing in my work. I visit the zoo and library for animal inspiration. I like stories that make me laugh or take me to an imaginative or magical place where unusual and surprising things happen. I also like to daydream and let my mind explore the “what if”. After I receive a story manuscript, I read it and let my mind take me where the words lead me. My artwork is a combination of observation and imagination. Humor often ties the two, together.
Q: Do you schedule school visits?
A: I have visited many schools through the years. I've shared my books and my experience in publishing with thousands of students. I love it and look forward to those opportunities. My availability depends on my work schedule and other projects that I have in the studio. Schools should contact me for updated information.