Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Susan is the author and illustrator of many wonderful picture books including Stripes of All Types, Bring On the Birds, and Fabulous Fishes. Her books celebrate nature with whimsical charm and have received awards from the American Library Association, Parents’ Choice, the National Science Teachers Association and Bank Street College of Education. Susan’s distinctive animal imagery is now featured on puzzles, notecards and other products sold worldwide.
She will also be presenting a breakout session on Saturday, September 21st on “Beyond Books: What I Have Learned About Licensing Artwork.”
And now that she’s settled in the cyber chair with her favorite coffeehouse beverage, Café Americana …
… and her favorite snack, popcorn …
… Let’s begin! Okay, Susan, first question. What was your favorite book as a child?
I loved the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series. I was dazzled by her ability to cure kids of any ailment.
Ah, memories. When did you decide to be an illustrator?
I really committed to being artist when I became a mother. While reading picture books to my children, I fell in love with the format and became inspired to create books of my own.
What’s your favorite medium?
Acrylic on paper is my game!
Where’s your favorite place to work? (Bonus point if you share a picture.)
I love my studio, which is on the second floor of my house. The natural light is great and I feel so comfortable and cozy creating there.
Whoa, awesome studio! And I love it when folks share pictures. 🙂
Okay, now, how do you describe your style and has it changed throughout your career?
I describe my artwork as stylized realism. My work has changed by literally getting bigger over the years. I used to paint teeny, tiny images and now I paint big, bold ones. What hasn’t changed is my use of color, pattern and detail.
How were you inspired to illustrate your current or upcoming release?
The idea for Stripes of All Types came to me as I gazed at a fiesta-colored poisonous frog in a museum exhibition. The frog’s colorful stripes alert potential predators that it is toxic and to stay away. That intrigued me, and I decided then to create a picture book about striped animals around the world and how they benefit from their stripes.
Sounds fantastic! Okay, for one day, time travel is a reality and you have the opportunity to visit any famous deceased artist you want. Who do you pick?
Michelangelo, while he is painting The Sistine Chapel. And can I have another day?
Sure, why not. 🙂
Henri Matisse, while he is painting anything.
What is your favorite quote?
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. (Philo of Alexandria)
Nice one! Okay, if you could sum up your best advice for new illustrators in only four words, what would they be?
Do what comes naturally.
Time for the lightning round!
Do you . . .
Work from photos or imagination? Both
Talk about works-in-progress, or keep it zipped? Talk
Prefer sketching or final art? Final art
Dread marketing/blogging or love it? Enjoy marketing, not blogging
Enjoy brainstorming more or researching? Researching
Read Kindle or traditional books? Traditional
And finally, what’s your favorite:
Time to work? Morning
Music to listen to while drawing? Irish fiddling
Traditional media or digital? Traditional
Pair of shoes? My fuzzy slippers
Guiltiest pleasure? Fritos
Line from a movie? There’s no place like home.
Awesome, thanks so much, Susan for stopping by and letting us get to know you better before the conference!
And for those who might have missed our previous interviews, here they are!
Happy writing and drawing, everyone! 🙂