I get a lot of inquires about my illustration process.
I hope the information below will help us get to know each other better.
What is your medium and method of choice?
I prefer to do all my illustrations by hand. Call me crazy but I love the feeling of paper and I love seeing an image emerge at my fingertips!
Whether I'm working on my own story or translating the words of someone else, my method is fairly similar: a few rough sketches or thumbnails and a loose idea on a pad of newsprint paper. Whatever pops into my brain first. Nothing too concrete. Just random association. (We don't want to cage our muse in.) Sometimes, I'll type up a simple story manuscript or print the text I'll be using to refer back to. From here, I measure out the size of the book I want to make (with extra space for margins, bleed, gutters...) and begin drawing the pictures lightly with a pencil on 300-pound hot-press watercolor paper. Hot-press has a smoother surface texture than cold-press and illustrations "translate" better when they go to print but this is a personal preference.
Next, I start painting. Again, I prefer the old-school method of physical paint on physical paper. For the type of paint, I switch between Staedtler watercolor pencils and a portable, stacking set of watercolors by Koh-I-Noor (l love these! They're great even if you're not painting en plein air!).
Now comes my absolute favorite part: the detailing! When all the illustrations are complete in color I go back with pen-and-ink to add depth and fine detail. My weapon of choice? PaperMate InkJoy Gel pens. I know, you're shocked. They're not even an art pen but they are quick-drying, smudge-resistant, and cheap! (The Old Masters are rolling in their graves now!)
When the illustrations are fully complete, I scan them into my computer at 300 to 600 dpi and add the text digitally using Adobe InDesign.
Will you illustrate my children's book?
I receive a lot of inquiries from writers and emerging authors.
I prefer to work directly with editors and publishing houses but am not against working for a self-publishing author.* Please feel free to contact me to talk about your book project and budget.
What are your favourite subjects to illustrate?
I like to illustrate whimsical animal characters and fantasy stories the best.
I also enjoy doing highly-detailed work.
Where do you prefer to work?
My nook of choice is in my office but sometimes this spills over to the kitchen table, the counter, my car, a cosy chair...but my favorite place is at the ocean...
What is your favorite book?
That is not an easy question to answer. I love sooo many books! Among my favorite are "Tuck Everlasting" by Natalie Babbitt, "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane" by Katherine Howe, and most any book by Sarah Addison Allen. My mother used to threaten me that if I didn't pick out a book at the library, they were going to lock me in! That would have been wonderful to me!
*Truth in advertising: Most publishers and editors prefer to choose the illustrator themselves. If you are considering submitting your manuscript to a publisher, please be aware that you will need to get their approval first to use an outside illustrator.