Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Author/Illustrator - Julie Rowan-Zoch


 How long have you been creating art for children?

I don’t know if I ever thought of myself creating art specifically for children. I don’t see illustrating picture books as just for kids. But I hope my illustrations will inspire kids to create, and always have!

How long have you been writing for children?

I have worked as a graphic designer, but I have thought about making picture books for a long time, and began to scribble in earnest in 2011.

Can you share a bit about your publishing journey?


Where do you do your artwork? 

Wait, let me shoo the dust-bunnies first! Ahh, good thing for me you asked: just found a missing sock as the d-b’s scurried under the sofa! I don’t have a studio space in our small home, but here is where I do most of my artwork on paper. Otherwise I use the computer for digital work.

Please tell us about your illustrations. Can you describe your creative process for us? How would you describe your style?

I am not sure I have a style! I suppose a friend could identify my work, so maybe I do! I’m a graphic designer, and a lot of my work is what one might call graphic, but my pencil drawings are not ‘graphic’ to me! (Although I recently attempted some abstract landscape sketching on a weekend in Rocky Mountain Nat’l. Park:

I’ve heard that’s what publishers want: one illustrator, one style. But just as an editor will look for a match, I need to be able to feel that the style of illustrations are right for what I write – and as of yet that can be quite varied! I have been writing an awful lot since the 12x12 challenge started, over 35 ms drafts, not including pockets full of idea-Schnipsel (German for scraps of paper). If I felt I was not able to illustrate one of my stories well, I certainly would be open to pass it on to another illustrator!

Recently I sent this competition entry in to my local SCBWI chapter for the Fall Conference poster. The theme is The Future is Now:Surviving and Thriving in Today's Children's Book Market. Even with this kind of thing I look for words to give me inspiration. I browse the dictionary, the thesaurus, look for idioms or quotes. Sooner or later, there is a spark and I run with it. In this case I remembered a word I had illustrated for heights. The girl’s eyes had what I wanted to convey: I actually like the energy from the sketch better! I completed the final using markers as a first layer, then colored pencil and graphite pencil for contrast/depth.

Which comes first - the story or the illustrations?

I don’t think I can separate that. I think, I see visuals of characters in my head, they talk and I get to know their story as well as their appearance. I might begin to write down their story, or begin with the drawings, but they were born at the same time. As I participated in NaPiBoWriWee I thought I’d try a different approach: with no preparation I sat before a blank word file (except for #7, the idea appeared in my head months ago!). I shook my brain cells and let a story ‘happen’. Each draft is quite different from the rest. Let’s see if I can better relate with my thoughts: “Day One, page is the loneliest number.....“ And that is how the story began! Okay, so that was easy, AND I really like what came out, but I saw all that happen in my head. So you tell me – what came first?

Julie can be found at:

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Julie Rowan-Zoch
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