Coffee & Conversation with Susan Stockdale: From Dreaming to Doing Conference

Happy Monday, everyone! We are continuing with our pre-From Dreaming to Doing SCBWI Conference guest speaker interviews. In case you’ve missed our first three, here’s the links:

Today we have Susan Stockdale in the cyber chair!

From Dreaming to Doing SCBWI ConferenceSusan is the author and illustrator of eight picture books for young children. Her books celebrate nature with exuberance and charm and have won awards from the American Library Association, Parents’ Choice, the National Science Teachers Association and Bank Street College of Education. Her expressive prose and artwork elicit praise. The Washington Post wrote, “If the paintings are the feast, Stockdale’s words are the dessert.”

Susan will be speaking twice on Saturday:

Saturday, 10:05-10:55 AM

Creating Nonfiction with Zest

Common Core standards are driving the demand for compelling nonfiction for children in both books and online material. Join award-winning author and illustrator Susan Stockdale as she demonstrates how she introduces young readers to scientific concepts through rhythmic, rhyming text and accurate but stylized illustrations. Learn how she engages children with her nonfiction topics, conducts fastidious research with scientists and works with editors and art directors.

Saturday, 1:00-1:50 PM

Picture Books and Reviews Panel 

Join this panel of accomplished authors, illustrators, agents, editors and reviewers as they discuss everything you need to know (or at least as much as they can cover in 50 minutes) about the picture book review process and the reality of what it’s like to have a book out in the world.

And now on to the interview!

First question, Susan, what’s your favorite medium?

Acrylic on paper

Where’s your favorite place to work?

My home studio, which has great natural light and everything I need be productive.

From Dreaming to Doing SCBWI Conference

What is your favorite writing or drawing how-to book, technique, or website that has helped you improve your craft or provided inspiration?

Uri Shulevitz’s Writing With Pictures.


How were you inspired to write and illustrate your current or upcoming release?

While visiting the U.S. Botanic Garden, I was charmed by an orchid that looked just like a monkey’s face. The idea for the book (Fantastic Flowers) came to me in a flash: a book about flowers that look like other things! It struck me as such a playful and fun theme – but one that could have real educational heft, too.


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?

Can I visit two since they share the same first name?

Go for it.

Henri Matisse and Henri Rousseau

What is your favorite quote?

Be the change you want to see.”

If you could sum up your best advice for new writers and illustrators in only four words, what would they be?

Do what comes naturally.

Time for the lightning round. No more than four words per answer!

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? Both

Enjoy brainstorming more or researching? Researching

Read Kindle or traditional books? Traditional books

And finally, what’s your favorite:

Time to work? 9 AM

Music to listen to while drawing? Vivaldi

Traditional media or digital? Traditional media

Pair of shoes? Red flats

Guiltiest pleasure? Chocolate with sea salt

Line from a movie? “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Awesome, thanks for stopping by, Susan, and we’re looking forward to seeing you at the conference!

Happy writing and drawing, everyone!

About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two awesome boys, wife of one fantastic husband, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She loves run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
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