Coffee and Conversation with Jean Wogaman!

Wednesday Greetings!  Highlighting the illustrator’s in our region this month has been such a joy.  With only a few days remaining in December, I am excited to share the work of Jeanie Wogaman with all of you.

Jeanie is a freelance children’s illustrator and writer living in Washington, DC.  She works primarily in pen-and-ink or pen-and-ink with watercolor and occasionally creates with graphite pencil, colored pencils, acrylics, digital media or a mix of materials. Jeanie has written many short stories, two middle grade novels, and a few picture books.  Her pen-and-ink artwork has appeared in the SCBWI Bulletin and her short fiction has been published in Pockets magazine.  For additional fun, Jeanie participates in The Sketchbook Project and Illustration Friday challenges. She posts the resulting pictures on her blog:  Her portfolio can be viewed on her website: and her twitter feed is:

Here are a few examples of her work:

First off, what’s your favorite coffeehouse beverage?

Mocha, no whip

And your favorite snack?

Popcorn, followed by a chunk of extra dark chocolate

When did you decide to be an illustrator?

Hard to say. I was one of those kids who drew all the time. I love reading, daydreaming, and creating stories too. It feels like illustration chose me at birth.

How long did your path to your first sale take, and what were your biggest hurdles?

I’m still at the beginning. No books published yet. I’ve participated in art shows through the years and sold paintings that way, and I’ve illustrated church bulletin covers and a fundraiser cookbook pro bono, but the only illustrations sales I’ve made to date have been to the SCBWI Bulletin. I’m writing a chapter book right now, and working on pictures to go with it. Unless all those postcard mailings start yielding clients soon, the chapter book pictures could wind up being my first illustrations that are viewed by actual children.

Since hindsight is 20/20, what advice for beginners do you wish you would’ve followed?

If I could go back in time, I’d start earlier. I made the mistake of listening to the wrong people (well-meaning people, but wrong) when I was younger.

What’s your favorite medium?

Pen and ink, watercolor, and the two combined on Arches 140lb. hot press watercolor blocks

Where’s your favorite place to work?

One half of a bedroom is dedicated studio space. There’s a table for drawing and a desk for computer work. The attached photo is from a while ago when the table was relatively clean. At the moment, the drawing table is buried under stacks of books, sketchpads, and Christmas cards, so I’ve cleared a space for drawing on my desk in front of my monitor. It’s a good set-up for streaming movies while I draw.

Which illustrators inspire you?

Arnold Lobel, Maurice Sendak, David Small, Garth Williams, Tony diTerlizzi, Arthur Rackham, Edward Gorey, Eric Orchard, Peter Reynolds, Renata Liwska,…really I could go on all day with this list.

What were your favorite books as a child?

Where the Wild Things Are, James and the Giant Peach, the Chronicles of Narnia

How do you describe your style and has it changed throughout your career?

Line art. It’s a style conducive to interior illustration for chapter books and middle grade novels. Recently, I’ve been exploring effects of shading forms with a gray watercolor wash.

Time for the lightning round!

Do you . . .

Work from photos or imagination?

Imagination with photos for reference.

Talk about works-in-progress, or keep it zipped?

I’m tight-lipped in the early stages.

Prefer sketching or final art?

Sketching, although I love when final art turns out better than expected.

Dread marketing/blogging or love it?

I enjoy blogging, but don’t know how I’ll feel about other forms of marketing.

Enjoy brainstorming more or researching?

I like a balance of both.

Read Kindle or traditional books?

Traditional. I don’t own an e-reader.

And finally, what’s your favorite:

Time to work?

Whenever distractions are at a minimum (but not in the middle of the night). Other than that, I’m not picky.

Music to listen to while drawing?

I actually prefer to have a video playing while I draw. It has to be a film I’ve seen many times before, so I don’t need to pay full attention to it. Movies help to block out distractions and give my eyes periodic breaks from the work in process.

Traditional media or digital?

Traditional, although I just upgraded my Adobe software and have been investigating the new features in Photoshop. I could see myself developing a hybrid style in the not-too-distant future.

Pair of shoes?

Slippers for around the house. Running shoes for everywhere else. My feet prefer comfort over fashion.

Guiltiest pleasure?

Listening to Jim Dale’s Harry Potter audio books a gazillion times over.

Line from a movie?

From a song in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, “Always look on the bright side of life (whistle, whistle, whistle-whistle-whistle).”

Thanks for participating!

My pleasure! Thanks for the invitation!

We wish you the best of luck with your illustrating and writing and look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.

This entry was posted in Interviews: Authors, Interviews: Illustrators. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Coffee and Conversation with Jean Wogaman!

  1. What a treat to see Jeanie’s beautiful illustrations and to get a peek at her work space. I bet lots of kids will be enjoying her art and books soon!

  2. Pingback: December Illustrator Spotlight Recap « As the Eraser Burns

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.