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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Illustrator Interview, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 39
1. Sam Zuppardi – Illustrator Interview

Dear blog followers, I promised you that I was going to try and expand my interviews beyond the North American borders, so today we are back in the UK with one of their finest picture book illustrators, Sam Zuppardi (well, … Continue reading

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2. Matthew Cordell – Illustrator Interview

I was reading Matthew’s latest book, WISH, a few weeks back and remembering how much I had also loved his mini technology-bash in  HELLO! HELLO! and it dawned on me I should invite him on the blog. It is such … Continue reading

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3. Emma Yarlett – Illustrator Interview

I promised you more Europeans so here is another fellow-Brit, Emma Yarlett. I think when you see ORION AND THE DARK, you will realize why I shot off an email immediately to Emma to see if she would be up … Continue reading

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4. Moira Swiatkowski – Illustrator Interview

While I haven’t managed to attend the SCBWI winter conference the past few years I have schmoozed and managed to be invited to several gatherings/parties. It was at one of these I first had the pleasure of meeting Moira. Aside … Continue reading

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5. Chris Haughton – Illustrator Interview

One of the thrills of being part of the children’s literature community is reading a book and then reaching out to the author and/or illustrator and actually entering into dialogue and quite often friendship with them. Even well known busy … Continue reading

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6. Illustrator Interview – Mika Song

I have interviewed several winners and runners-up of the SCBWI winter conference portfolio competition and it is my pleasure to welcome this year’s winner to the blog today, MIKA SONG. Congratulations on your win! And we have promised each other to … Continue reading

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7. Illustrator Interview – Frané Lessac

Naturally, my greatest reason for inviting an illustrator to be interviewed on Miss Marple’s Musings is because I admire her/his art, but often it is also because I am a little nosy (what writer isn’t?) and I want to find … Continue reading

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8. Illustrator Interview – Olivier Tallec

Apart from greatly admiring his work, my impulse to interview Olivier was three-fold: firstly, my author -illustrator friend Julie Rowan-Zoch urged me to, secondly Olivier is published in the US by one of my favorite publishers (who are right here … Continue reading

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9. Illustrator Interview – Colleen Rowan Cosinski

       And how exciting is it to be able to congratulate an interviewee on signing with an agent the week before the interview?! Congratulations, Colleen, on signing with Isabel Atherton of Creative Authors, Ltd. I am sure you will … Continue reading

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10. Illustrator Interview – Maral Sassouni

I connected with Maral on Facebook because I swoon at her artwork and because she is a huge Francophile like me. She is relatively new to children’s books, but her work has been well received: selected in Society of Illustrators (Illustrators … Continue reading

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11. Illustrator Interview – Roxie Munro

Roxie was one of the very first kid lit people to welcome me to New York in 2012. I have visited her in her home and lovely studio here in New York City. Roxie is the author/illustrator of more than 35 … Continue reading

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12. Illustrator Interview – Benji Davies

I reviewed Benji’s picture book, STORM WHALE, back in November and it had a very large number of page views, so I thought, I should interview him. We have had very few Brits in this series and really needs to … Continue reading

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13. Illustrator Interview – Valeri Gorbachev

If you don’t know that I am a huge feline fanatic, you haven’t been following me for long. I fell in love with Valeri’s art when I read and reviewed CATS ARE CATS last November. And I am seeking to … Continue reading

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14. Illustrator Interview – Mike Curato

The first book in Mike’s series, Little Elliot, Big City, debuted on August 26th, 2014 and was the winner of the 2015 Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor. I had briefly met Mike a year ago in one of those … Continue reading

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15. Illustrator Interview – Elizabeth Rose Stanton

By popular request, they’re back! Every Wednesday, I shall be interviewing illustrators from the world of children’s literature, those you know well and also introducing you to pre-published future Caldecott potentials! Today’s guest is my go to pig-me-up on FB when I need a smile and a bit of whimsy to brighten my day. Welcome to Elizabeth Rose Stanton, whose debut picture book, HENNY, will be published next January by Simon & Schuster.

[JM Illustrator or author/illustrator? 

[ERS] Author/illustrator

[JM] What’s your nationality and which and how have certain cultures/regions influenced your work?   

[ERS] I am “all” American. Multiple lines of my family go back to the early 1600s in North America, and I have a touch of Native American.  It’s probably more accurate to say that my work has been influenced more by children’s literature, in general, than any specific culture or region. That said, I admire the work of many artists and illustrators, including:  Beatrix Potter, Lisbeth Zwerger, John R. Neill, John Tenniel, Edward Gorey, James Thurber. 

I could go on and on . . . 

[JM] Tell us a little of your beginnings as an artist.

[ERS] I studied art history in college, and then went on to get a graduate degree in architecture.   After I got married and had children, I decided to set aside my career as an architect to be a full-time parent.  I began to work as an artist, as time permitted, when my youngest child started kindergarten.  I did portraits, fine art (was represented by a gallery here in Seattle), some graphic design, and became a certified scientific illustrator.  It is only recently, now that the nest is empty, that I have been able to dive full-time into writing and illustrating for children.   

[JM] Do you have a preferred medium to work in? 

[ERS] I work mostly with pencil and watercolor, and sometimes with pen and ink and/or colored pencils. 

[JM] What does your workspace look like?        

Studio_ERStanton[ERS] It Usually looks messy! :-)   I have a cove in the basement lined on one side with bookshelves, and a desk at the end.  I call it “The Trench.”

[JM] Can you share a piece or two with us, maybe of a WIP, and the process of creating them?

[ERS] My process varies a little, depending on where the final image(s) end up. For my books, I work completely on paper.  HENNY was rendered in pencil and watercolor, and the final art was packed up and physically sent to Simon & Schuster in New York.    For posting on-line (such as my Facebook “daily” sketches or for blog posts), I always begin with pencil/paint on paper, scan it, then often do some touch up.  I have a very old graphics program that I use that is quite adequate for what I usually need to do—cleaning up stray lines or enhancing color here and there.  But the short of it is, I prefer to work old-school.  


Begins with a simple pencil sketch

Then I begin to paint, using a variety of watercolor, and sometimes gouache.

Then I begin to paint, using a variety of watercolor, and sometimes gouache.

I go back and forth with color and pencil until I feel the picture is balanced

I go back and forth with color and pencil until I feel the picture is balanced


Then, in this case, I scan it in, clean it up a little, and send it on its way.

Then, in this case, I scan it in, clean it up a little, and send it on its way.

[JM] I know you have your debut picture book coming out in January of 2014. Can you tell us a little about the inspiration and development of HENNY? 

[ERS] Most of my ideas pop out spontaneously by way of the characters. A couple of years ago, I drew a fanciful bird with arms. He morphed into a chicken.  Then I started to think about all the challenges, and fun, a little chicken with arms might have, and Henny’s story unfolded from there.

Armed Chicks

Armed Chicks


Jacket cover for HENNY (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books)

 [JM] What’s with all the pigs? :-)  

[ERS] The book I’m working on now is about a pig.

EPSON scanner image

[JM] How do you approach the marketing/business side of the picture book world?

[ERS] Having a fabulous agent, Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary & Media, helps.  I couldn’t have asked for a better person to represent me. She is helpful, responsive, and she really knows the business. I also have the benefit of the expertise of the talented team at Paula Wiseman Books. Meanwhile, I’ve been working to build up my social network platform. I try and keep my blog current, as well as post sketches and little paintings on Facebook as frequently as I can.  I use Twitter occasionally, too.  Specifically for HENNY, I will be having the book launch here in Seattle the first week of January, and will then be working hard to make the rounds, so to speak, singing her praises! :-)

EPSON scanner image[JM] What has been your greatest professional challenge?

[ERS] Staying focused. I always want to do other things (I have a pretty long bucket list).

Five Fun Ones to Finish?

[JM] What word best sums you up? 

[ERS] Quirky.

EPSON scanner image

[JM] If you could live anywhere for a season, where would you go? 

[ERS] Paris–because I’ve never been.

[JM] What’s your go-to snack or drink to keep the creative juices flowing?

[ERS] Strong tea and the darkest of dark chocolate.

[JM] Cats or dogs? 

[ERS] Both!  I have an ancient one-eyed dog and two Scottish Fold cats.

[JM] If you could spend a day with one children’s book illustrator, with whom would that be? 

[ERS] Current: Lisbeth Zwerger    Past: Beatrix Potter

[JM] Where can we find/follow you and your work, Elizabeth?





[ERS]  Thank you for the interview, Joanna!  It’s been fun!

[JM] Thank YOU for being on Miss Marple’s Musings, Beth. To your continued success. I am looking forward to seeing HENNY when she comes out!

EPSON scanner image 

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16. Illustrator Interview – Joyce Wan

I-joycewan-headshotI don’t think I shall ever hear the word CUPCAKE now without thinking of Joyce Wan (check out her website if this means nothing to you). Somehow, a frosted pink, mouthful of scrummy yum, that makes you wanna yell Mmm, Fun and More! I have been following Joyce for a while on FB because Marcie Colleen, a mutual friend, lambasted me one day in our local Brooklyn bar with, ‘What, you’ve been in New York 4 months and don’t know Joyce Wan?!!” Well, I finally got to meet Joyce at the SCBWI LA conference this summer (where I have actually met the majority of my kidlit friends), and she was one of the reasons for my SCBWI rave post, here!

[JM] Illustrator or author/illustrator?

[JW] Author/illustrator

[JM] What’s your nationality and which and how have certain cultures/regions influenced your work?

[JW] I am Chinese-American, born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, but have been living in New York City for about 17 years now.

[JM] Tell us a little of your beginnings and journey as an artist.

[JW] Art always interested me, even as a child, and has always been a pursuit and a passion of mine. I designed a greeting card when I was 6 years old for a city-wide greeting card design contest. The design won first place and was subsequently sold through a major department store chain. Because of the contest, I even got to meet the governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, and had my picture in the Boston Globe.


As you can imagine, this experience left a major impression on me as a young child and it encouraged me to keep drawing. I grew up on welfare and food stamps in low-income housing in inner-city Boston for a greater part of my youth. Coming from an immigrant family with limited means, art was not necessarily encouraged – not as a means to make a living anyway. I went on to study architecture at Barnard College thinking it was the “practical” thing to do for someone who was interested in the arts. However, after working in the field of architecture for a couple years I realized it was not very fulfilling – in fact, I hated it. With no formal art education other than a college figure drawing class and a huge leap of faith, I started Wanart in 2003 with an initial focus on designing and manufacturing my own greeting card line. When I first started Wanart, I was working at a 9am-6pm job at an architectural firm. I would spend the night/early morning hours on my own business with only a few hours of sleep in between the two “jobs”.  I did this for two years before I quit my full time job to pursue my own business full-time. I spent the early years taking lots of continuing education classes, taking odd jobs here and there when I needed money, reading lots of marketing books, trying many different things, making many mistakes, teaching myself design programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, spending lots of money (or, I like to call it, investing in myself), and drawing—lots of drawing, relying on nothing but hope and passion to keep me going most of the time. I continually put myself out there and exhibited my products at trade shows all over the country such as the National Stationery Show and the New York International Gift Show. Between the trial and error (and tears!) were some small successes, by this time I also started to license some of my designs, and then a major break came when I met the art director from my first publisher in 2008 at a gift show. The art director told me they had seen my cards in stores, had been following my work, and even had some of my cards in their office. This led to the publication of my first book Greetings from Kiwi and Pear which was based on one of my best-selling greeting card lines. I’ve had 5 books published now with 6 more under contract in the next few years. I’m working with Cartwheel/Scholastic, PSS!/Penguin, Beach Lane Books/S&S, & FSG/Macmillan. My designs are also found on stationery and gift products sold all over the world. It is a dream come true.

[JM] Do you have a preferred medium to work in?

[JW] People know me for my digital work but I have been working more with pencil (my first love) lately and have a book coming out next year that I’m excited about called Sleepyheads with Beach Lane Books, which is drawn entirely in pencil and then colored digitally.

[JM] What does your workspace look like? (Photo if you like??)

[JW] I have a studio space right outside of New York City in Union City, New Jersey in an old industrial building that was a silk mill in the early 1900’s.  These photos show my studio at its neatest, but it does get quite messy especially when I’m on deadline!



When I’m working late (which I tend to like to do these days because I find I do my best creative work between the hours of 12am and 3am) I will work at home right on my dining table.

[JM] Can you share a piece or two with us, maybe of a WIP, and the process of creating them?

[JW] I’ve included some images from a book coming out Fall 2014 from Beach Lane Books that I illustrated and was written by Sandra Howatt called Sleepyheads.

I always like to draw thumbnails first. This helps me plan the general layout of each page and text placement without having to worry too much about the details at this point.  I also jot down any other ideas or questions I may have for each page.


Since this book did not contain any recurring characters, I went straight to the drawings. If there were characters, I would do character studies which involves drawing the character with different expressions and poses before advancing to the drawings.  I wanted this book to have a soft, cuddly classic feeling so I drew this book entirely with a good old-fashioned pencil on fine art cotton fiber paper. Because of all the rendering I must have gone through over 25 pencils for this book and even a few sharpeners. It felt really nice to get back to basics and almost meditative in some ways.


After all the drawings were done, I scanned each one, inserted the text in Photoshop, compiled the files into a PDF, and emailed them to my editor for comments. My editor, Andrea Welch, and I had a phone meeting and we went through each page together and she shared her comments and requests for changes on layout, composition, character expressions, etc. I went back to the drawing board, had to redraw some of the pages and additional drawings had to be created, such as the title page and the cover. Afterward, I sent a new PDF with all the pages. Once the last round of drawings were approved, I went to color.

The book was colored in Photoshop mostly using the “multiply” blending mode so that I didn’t lose any of the pencil texture. Anyone who’s familiar with my work know that I use a lot of bright, cheerful flat colors so coloring night scenes, which I had not done much of before, was a fun, new challenge. I wanted to create a dreamy, peaceful, soothing atmosphere – a lullaby in visual form.


The colored drawings were then emailed to my editor in a PDF for comments again.  After some more back-and-forth, the book was complete! The final drawings files were then uploaded to their server without the copy. The art department usually places the text.

I recently received the proofs for the book to review. Besides some minor adjustments I need to make, I am happy with how they look and I’m excited to share this book with the world!


[JM] Are the two art forms of card design and illustrating and writing books for children related and, if so, how? 

[JW] Yes, at least in the types of books that I have been working on which are books for the very young – those that are not even quite reading yet. I spent many years working on greeting card designs (my collection now contains around 200 designs). Greeting cards are about communicating emotions and universal sentiments like love and joy which in a lot of ways are what picture books are about too. Going from greeting cards to picture books seemed like a natural progression. Eric Carle once said that when he’s working on a book every spread has to be able to stand on its own like a poster. I feel like it’s the same way with greeting cards and is something that I carry over into my books.

[JM] How do you approach the marketing/business side of the picture book world? 

[JW] I’m a bit pro-active when it comes to marketing. having my gift business all these years really prepared me for the marketing/business side of the book world. I was already used to ‘selling’ and promoting my rat before picture books were even in the pciture. I look at creating picture books as an extension of my design business and the picture books as another line of my products. I think creative people often feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by marketing and business. THINK BIG, ACT SMALL, but ACT nonetheless- ONE STEP AT A TIME towards your goals. This helps to keep dreamers and idealists rooted, and leads one towards successful fruition of ideas and dreams.

[JM] What authors and/or illustrators influenced you growing up?

[JW] There are so many but here are several of my favorites: Richard Scarry, Eric Carle, Tomie dePaola, Lois Ehlert, Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, and James Marshall.

[JM] What advice would you give new illustrators trying to break into this challenging business?

[JW] Have the courage to keep putting yourself out there, surround yourself with people who believe in you (stay away from toxic ones!), be honest with yourself, focus on what you do best, play up and promote what you do best, create from your heart and soul (not what the next person is doing), never stop learning, and keep drawing/painting/writing! Also, I keep hearing this more and more from people in the industry and at conferences and it’s something I also wholeheartedly believe—you have to work really, really hard, probably the hardest you’ve ever had to work. Go the extra mile in everything you do and everything you put out there.

 Five Fun Ones to Finish?

[JM] What word best sums you up?

[JW] Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

[JM] If you could live anywhere for a season, where would you go?

[JW] Hawaii during the frigid months here in NYC would be dreamy. It’s such a magical, mystical, and joyous place: warm ocean, perfect sunlight, gentle sea breezes, lush green vegetation, sacred nature sites, the freshest fruits of the sea you’ll ever eat, awe-inspiring landscapes, full rainbows, fragrant flowers, friendly people, and SPAM, eggs, and rice (need I say more?).


This is a full rainbow I saw while on a last-minute Hawaiian getaway a year and a half ago. I had to stitch a bunch of photos together using a photo app because the rainbow was so immense I couldn’t fit the whole thing in one photo. As I gazed in awe at the rainbow that I spotted in the middle of a field while driving around the Hawaiian countryside (after making my friend pull over on the side of the road so that I could take pictures!), I was reminded how important it is to take a break from work and do something spontaneous and out-of-the-ordinary sometimes to reconnect with our childlike sense of wonder, discovery, and delight. [JM] Thanks for the reminder and visual!

[JM] What’s your go-to snack or drink to keep the creative juices flowing?

[JW] Skittles, specifically the one in the purple packaging which are the Wild Berry flavors, or, the Fruit Salad Haribo Gummi candies and a nice strong cup of coffee.

[JM] Cats or dogs?

[JW] Either – they just have to be chubby! [JM] Garfield meets Deputy Dawg?

[JM] If you could spend a day with one children’s book illustrator, with whom would that be?

[JW] That would be Eric Carle, but if they don’t have to be living I would also love to have been able to spend the day with Richard

[JM] Where can we find/follow you and your work, Joyce?

Visit me online at www.wanart.com.

Connect with me on: Twitter: @wanartFacebook:  https://www.facebook.com/wanartstudio                                                                 Instagram: @wanartstudio

Joyce, I love how you have known only shared yourself and your work, but I also really feel like you have graciously taught us much in this interview and shared your expertise with us. I think Marcie and I need to take a trip to visit you in your super studio space! To your success, especially with the adorable SLEEPYHEADS.

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17. Tory Novikova, An Illustrator on the Rise (plus a giveaway!)

ToryTwo years ago at NJ-SCBWI, someone mistook Tory Novikova for my daughter.

Eek! Am I that OLD? No, really, Tory is quite young, so let’s just say that if I were a teenage bride, it could be a possibility. I mean, look at those eyes and hair! Totally plausible.

While Tory’s definitely not my daughter, she does work with her mom, and that’s pretty cool.


Torynova’s adorbable Mushroom Fairy Print leggings.

Her mom played a heavy role in inspiring the styles for Tory’s own fashion company, Torynova Couture.

“The woman had me drawing as soon as possible, so kudos to that child-rearing dedication. She’s a fashion designer, graduated from Moscow’s Textile Institute and had worked for the top fashion houses there and also made costumes for theater and ballet. Even my great grandparents worked on costume and stage production for the Bolshoi Theater, so one could say appreciation for the classics runs through my blood.”

With Tory’s talent and drive—she also illustrates for video game, comic and apparel companies—I knew picture books couldn’t be far behind for this Pratt Institute 2010 BFA. Flash forward to NOW and her book TUKE THE SPECIALIST TURTLE is swimming your way!


Tory, how did you land the job illustrating TUKE?

I was approached really out of the blue (for me, anyway) by Jim Ritterhoff about illustrating this children’s book he had written and meant to publish through his company, Chowder Inc. Profits were to benefit CCMI, the Central Caribbean Marine Institute and the Central Reef Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to sustaining coral reefs in the Caribbean. He seemed really dedicated to the marine ecology of the reefs, being a diver himself. So I came on board and drew him Tuke.

Your illustrations for TUKE are so vibrant and fun. They really bring the ocean and Tuke’s personality to life. Could you give us a little background on your process for creating the art?

I think there is a natural juiciness to my color palette and aesthetic, no matter how far I try to run away from it. It must be a side effect from having my eyes stuck to the TV, growing up watching too many cartoons for it to be healthy. Thankfully, it came in very handy with Tuke because the story takes place in the Caribbean Reef. Though I’ve never seen it in person, I’ve researched enough about it to know that it’s riddled with colors beyond imagination. In fact, the very first spread I finished in full color was the entire reef, which comes in right after the introduction. The reaction I got from Jim, who is an avid diver and knows the reef so well, was pretty much like—YES! This totally works! So after that point, there were no doubts about color constraints. Though, I did get to play around with different depths of blues, which was lovely.



As far as my process goes. The entire book, 60+ pages, was laid out in clean pencil sketches like a storyboard. And for me, clean is a relative term…since my lines are pretty gestural and loose (I really dislike the look of pencil lines that have been traced over lovely loose sketches). Anyway! After each page or spread was drawn, I went over it with an ink brush, picking up and adding textures that I could snap up and use later for the finish. Eventually these were all scanned and saved for later. Then came the flat vector shapes. I really enjoy drawing freehand in Illustrator – is that strange? There is a satisfying gravity about a solid mass that contorts to form the daintiest of details. The expressions of the animals were probably my most favorite parts to draw!



And finally, the image is completed in Photoshop, all the bits are assembled, and the color is fully applied. It may be a little tedious of a process, but it lent itself a lot to the look of the book, and Tuke! And of course there were many moments of going back into inks, rescanning, and altering the finished pages by administering bits of texture for the final polish.



So, what’s next for you, Tory?

Hmmm…what IS next?!?! Well for starters, I’m about as knee-deep into education and new media as I’ll ever be. In fact, I’m currently involved in the creation of an entire educational game world revolving around children’s books and characters due for release in 2014. So I’m definitely still deep in pursuit of creating for kids—video games, books, products, cartoons—you name it! But it’s always been a dream to illustrate picture books. So I’m very much looking forward to the next opportunity that comes my way! :) Any takers?!

Well, I’ll bet there will be plenty of takers for our special TUKE giveaway! 

One lucky blog reader will win a custom sketch of Tuke made especially for them! You can even enter twice!

Comment or leave a question for Tory here on the blog for one entry, then Tweet or Instagram an image of the book with hashtag #TuketheSpecialistTurtle and tag @torynova for another entry. Contest ends September 21st and a winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

For more about Tory and her various projects, visit ToryNova.com.

12 Comments on Tory Novikova, An Illustrator on the Rise (plus a giveaway!), last added: 9/11/2013
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18. Illustrator Interview – Matt Phelan

A few weeks back I posted a review in our Perfect Picture Book Friday series of the first book Matt illustrated, THE NEW GIRL…. AND ME. I had so many comments on this post on my Facebook page from people … Continue reading

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19. Illustrator Interview – Akiko White

As all my blog followers know, I am a huge fan of the SCBWI and highly recommend children’s authors and illustrators to join and become involved in this society. I apply for and follow keenly their awards, and just as … Continue reading

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20. Illustrator Interview – Lita Judge

This interview arose from one of those serendipitous moments. I had been liking all Lita’s posts on FB about her new picture book FLIGHT SCHOOL for several weeks and had been thinking that I must see if she would like … Continue reading

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21. Illustrator Interview – Shirley Ng-Benitez

I have been enjoying Shirley’s animal sketches so much over the past few months on Facebook that I decided it was about time to have her on Miss Marple’s Musings so that we could all share in her artwork. [JM] … Continue reading

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22. Illustrator Interview – Tim Miller

I actually knew about Tim first through his children’s work with Queens Museum here in New York. Then I fell under his mice spell, or was it pics of swiss cheese and skunks? Whatever, I am a big fan and … Continue reading

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23. Illustrator Interview – Jennifer Reid

 Okay, I confess I do seem to have an Australia bias at the moment with these interviews! Maybe the universe is telling me I need to visit my final continent! Jennifer Reid is a 12×12 buddy and has her first … Continue reading

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24. Illustrator Interview – Nancy Armo

I have been stalking following Nancy on FB since she joined and for much of that time I admit it has been Mole that I have been following as I wanted to befriend him. Welcome Nancy Arno, and thank you for … Continue reading

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25. Illustrator Interview – Anna Raff

One of the great thrills of living in New York City is that fairly frequently I get to meet in real life one of the many authors and illustrators with whom I am friends on Facebook and/or Twitter. It turns out … Continue reading

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