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?
[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?
[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
[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.
[JM] What’s with all the pigs? 🙂
[ERS] The book I’m working on now is about a pig.
[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! 🙂
[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?
[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!