She said Yes!

For weeks I have had a secret project. It all started a few weeks ago when a romantic gentleman, Carlos, contacted me. He informed me that after several years of dating his girlfriend, Zanri, he thought it would be time to propose. He didn’t want to just drop to his knee though. Instead he wanted to pull together a romantic stunt and he needed my help.

Knowing his girlfriend was a huge fan of children’s illustrations (she works as a children’s book publisher) he sought out to have several illustrations drawn of their time together. He wanted to have them depicted as animals (him a monkey, her a snake) doing all the adventures that they had together, including the night they meet at a German October Festival, to parachuting, moving in together, travelling and meeting each other’s families.

Of course I immediately wanted to be involved. It was a different ball game to the usual book illustrations that I do and so I took the project on with great excitement. It was about three weeks into the project that I attended an open studio day with Alex. I was sitting there, making notes and taking photos for my blog post later, when one of the of ladies at the event looked incredible familiar. Read more

Visiting Alex Latimer at his Studio

Last week I got an email from the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) announcing that they were going to have a an open studio day with Alex Latimer. I can’t honestly say that I knew who Alex was before that email. After meeting him, seeing his studio and his work, I am so glad that I now do.

I will admit that in the rush to get to Alex’s studio in the morning, I actually forgot his name (this is a common thing that happens – especially if I haven’t met a person, so it didn’t even bother me that I was going to a person’s house whose name I had forgotten). I was five minutes late when I arrived and had to yell around his house until eventually I found his wife who guided me up the stairs to his studio. I still hadn’t remembered what his name was, as I quickly nodded and did mini waves to everyone apologetically, as I made my way to the back of the room. I had missed the introduction to the open day and just decided that I was going to have to check my emails on my phone at some point to get this guy’s name. As I was standing there my eyes began to wonder to the shelving on the wall.

There were all these books that were written and illustrated by some person called ‘Alex Latimer.’ I thought to myself ‘I need to Google that when I get home – maybe it’s up-coming illustrator or something that this guy is drawing inspiration from.’

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Ruth Chan chats about Georgia and Illustrations

Interview Ruth Chan

Georgie is my real life cat, and Feta is my real life dog. They are sort of odd and hilarious and are best friends

Celeste:  Hi Ruth, and welcome to my blog! Thanks so much for joining me and my readers today. I stumbled across your portfolio, while browsing the KidLit411’s website and loved your illustrations of your cat Georgie. Can you tell us a little him and his books?

Georgie on books
Georgie on his books

Ruth: Hi Celeste! Thanks so much for having me.

Georgie is my real life cat, and Feta is my real life dog.  They are sort of odd and hilarious and are best friends– they sleep together, clean each other, and get upset when one of them isn’t home.   So, quite understandably, I knew I wanted to make them into characters in a picture book.

Where’s the party? Is the first book that features Georgie, Feta, and a few other friends.  Just like in real life, Georgie and Feta are sweet, a little awkward, but apologetically themselves, We now have a series, called Georgie and friends, and the second book, Georgie’s best bad day is due out April, 2017.

Celeste: I understand that you didn’t come to illustration the conventional route (neither did I!) but discovered it and pursued it. Can you take us through your journey and how you found yourself making drawings for a living?

Ruth: I studied photography and education in school, so, you’re right, I don’t have a conventional, formal background in illustration. I’d always, however, loved picture books. They seamlessly encompass some of the most beautiful things in life: A good story, beautiful language, incredible art, humor, wit, tenderness, and truths. I’d amassed a huge collection of them, but never allowed myself to really consider making them. While I doodled here and there, in my mind, there was no way I had the chops to make it in such a competitive industry. Read more

Whimsical Illustrator – Shirley Ng-Benitez

Shirley Illustrator

My inspiration are my kids and nature.

Celeste: Hi Shirley! Thank so much for chatting with us today. I must say I love your work – it is very whimsical! Can you tell us a little about yourself, before I start bombarding you with questions!

Shirley: Hi Celeste! You are so kind to ask and thank you for your generous words, I really appreciate that! I am a children’s book illustrator and writer living in the Bay Area, California and have been illustrating for the children’s market for about five years. I made the transition to illustration in 2011 from many years in the graphic design field. I started out after college working for American Greetings, Inc. as a Professional Lettering Artist, and then worked for different design firms specializing in the toy industry, direct marketing, product marketing, and technology. I continue to work with my clients in design through gabbyandco.com, my company established in ‘98. Read more