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.  

Monster_Tutu1_ERStanton-1

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

HennyCover_ERStanton

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?

http://www.penspaperstudio.com/

http://penspaperstudio.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.r.stanton

@penspaperstudio

[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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36 Responses to Illustrator Interview – Elizabeth Rose Stanton

  1. Lori Nichols says:

    YAY! I love this interview and having a peek into your process Beth! I can’t wait to get my *hands* on Henny!!!
    Congrats. And thanks Joanna for the posting!

  2. Really love your style and personality in your characters, I kind of hope you dress like some of them too. Yep, now I can imagine you and some funky stockings and skirts, hats, sitting in the Trench making magic! Thanks for bringing Elizabeth another step closer to her fans, Joanna!

  3. Dana Carey says:

    So wonderful to learn more about Elizabeth and her process. Love her work– so unique. Great interview, Elizabeth and Joanna!

  4. Sylvia Liu says:

    I’ve been an admirer of yours, Elizabeth, for awhile, and it’s fun to get a behind-the-scenes peek at your work process.

  5. Cathy says:

    What endearing little piglets!

    Your work makes me smile – thank you!

  6. lovely work, lovely interview Joanna!

  7. Thanks, and huge HENNY hugs to you, Joanna, for this fun opportunity!
    We <3 Miss Marple's Musings 🙂
    -ERS

  8. JoSVolpe says:

    I love this interview! And I am jealous of your workspace, Beth. What a cozy trench!

  9. Yes your artwork is a bit quirky and I find it so endearing! You show so much personality in your characters. I love the piglets. What a wonderful interview. Love the illustrator interviews.

  10. Great interview! Now, to wait patiently, twiddling my thumbs, until Henny gets published… I might read a bit too. 😉 I will put this on my list of books I am waiting for!

  11. That lizard in a polka dotted dress has me completely smitten! I can’t wait to read Henny. Congratulations on your debut book, Elizabeth, and thank you, Joanna, for the fun interview!

  12. Thanks for a great interview, Joanna and Elizabeth. I loved how Henny morphed! The jacket cover is adorable and I can’t wait to read your book! Congratulations!

    • Thank you, Penny! Yes, Henny’s come a long way since her first days as that uber-weird bird on the left 😉
      Glad you like the cover–it is the design of Simon & Schuster’s art director extraordinaire, Lucy Ruth Cummins. As I mentioned, HENNY sure is lucky to have that team at Paula Wiseman Books!

  13. Joanna says:

    Thank you all for your wonderful enthusiasm for Elizabeth’s art and humour!

  14. Hannah Holt says:

    Best wishes with HENNY! It looks great. I love the shot of your desk. Your organization style looks very similar to my own. 🙂 I think the goblin in the tutu is my favorite piece, but I love them all. Thanks for spotlighting Elizabeth, Joanna.

  15. I love the character in all those illustrations. Super interview Joanna!

  16. Great interview, Joanna and Beth! As you can see, I’m right on schedule with reading blog posts 🙂 I am a huge fan of Beth’s work and can’t wait to have my own copy of HENNY! Now I have to go see what a Scottish Fold cat is!

  17. Thanks, Susanna! You can see that I am right on schedule with replies 😉 I’m so glad you stopped by– yay! I will send you a pic of my SF. Best cats, ever.

  18. Yikes! Don’t quite know how I managed to do that twice. :-O

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