I get a lot of emails with great questions. Here are some answers to the most common questions I receive!
How do you make your work?
I make my work using a combination of digital and traditional media. Sometimes I start with graphite pencil scanned into the computer (or shot on my iPhone), then I arrange and color it digitally in Photoshop. Sometimes I just work digitally, sometimes I use crayons and glitter glue and sweater pieces and almond butter and jelly. It depends what the project calls for. But usually the formula is this - “Take photos of stuff in bits and pieces + Photoshop to arrange/fix/color + tons of time and energy = ART!”
How did you find your style?
One day I woke up and said “THIS IS MY STYLE NOW!” Just kidding.
Style is something that evolves over time. If you want to know your ”style,” get a piece of paper and draw a tree from memory. That is your style. Style is just how you solve problems when you draw, it’s your natural response.
Look at tons of art. Copy the art you enjoy, take what you like and use that in your own work. Over time as you grow in your craft, your style will naturally develop.
I have a great idea for a book. Can I get your feedback on my story and/or art?
In an ideal world, I’d love to talk to every single person about their pitch, but unfortunately, I don’t have time. :(
Can you do the art and/or writing for my children book?
For book illustration inquiries, please contact my literary agent: Kirsten Hall / Kirsten@catbirdagency.com
Do I need an agent?
In my experience, the answer is yes. Most big publishing houses don’t have open submissions anymore, so you need an agent to get in the door. Keep in mind I don’t know you, or your personal goals, so an agent may not be right for what you want to do with your illustration/writing career. But I would say if you want to get into publishing, getting an agent is a good first step.
Another great resource to learn more about all this stuff is the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Check them out at www.scbwi.org
How did you get your agent?
The simple answer is a lot of research and a lot of rejection. I had been submitting queries and project proposals to agents and kid lit agencies for about two years before I came across Catbird. Those years of submissions were full of polite rejections and most of the time no response at all.
It’s important to find an agent that is right for you. I started by going to bookstores and noting illustrators I loved. Then I would go home and google “(Author/Illustrator’s Name Here) Agent.” Once I had a gathered list of agents that I thought might be a good fit for me I learned how to form a proper query letter and started the slow process of submissions. Getting an agent is 100% research, and 100% not giving up. You do have to put in 200% but it’s worth it when you find your perfect match!
Do I need to move to New York to be a successful writer/illustrator?
No! You can write or make art from anywhere. All you need is some paper, a computer, persistence and some fun ideas.