(Pronounced “ON-DEE”… as opposed to Andy. It’s short for Andrea.)How long have you been creating art for children?
I have been creating art for as long as I can remember. My mom actually has a book I made in Kindergarten about wanting to be an animator for Disney “when I grew up”. I held onto that dream for a long time, received a degree in Illustration, and eventually decided that my real passion is in children’s literature. I’m looking forward to seeing where this new direction will lead me.
How long have you been writing for children?
I imagine I’ve always had stories living inside me, ready to be told. I’ve spent the past 10 years working as a graphic designer and writing (boring) copy for adults. After attending a handful of SCBWI conferences, I kept being encouraged by other writer/illustrators to give it a try. I signed up for the 12x12x12 in January and now have a few manuscripts that I am working with. It’s all a learning process but I’m hopeful that by this fall I will have a dummy or two to start sending out. At the very least, it’s been a fun experience.
Can you share a bit about your publishing journey?
For a number of years I have been working in graphic and web design to pay the bills. Three short years ago, my son was born and I was blessed with the opportunity to leave my 9-5 and stay home with him. I have been doing freelance design work since then, but I’m gradually phasing that out as I focus on my true passions… illustration… and now writing. I consider myself a geek AND an artist, so I am really interested in app development too. Technology and art will continue to intertwine in the future. I’m hopeful that my past experience will lead me toward some interesting opportunities over the next few years.
Where do you do your artwork? Would you describe your space?
I have a nice, organized studio space that I use for most of my computer and digital illustration work. My son and I can often be found at the kitchen table covered in marker smudges and paint. I spend more time than I should in my hammock “thinking”. However, if I’m under a REALLY tight deadline I’m not ashamed to pack up my laptop, Wacom, and a few art supplies and head to a café with free Wi-Fi and iced tea refills.
Please tell us about your illustrations. Can you describe your creative process for us? How would you describe your style?
Like most artists, my “style” is continually evolving. In the past I worked a lot in colored pencil, but the medium is very tedious and difficult to make adjustments to. About 6 months ago I began working in digital format with a Wacom and I fell in love. I’ve found that I can get better texture, control and layering capabilities than I had working in pencil. It’s also faster and MUCH easier to edit. My eyes have really opened to a new way of working… one that I had turned my nose up to for a long time.
Generally my process starts with an idea. These ideas often come from something as simple as a word (I’m a huge fan of IllustrationFriday.com prompts). From there I research, sketch, draw everything out in colored pencil, and scan it. Then comes the slow process of layering color. I tend to work in a very controlled way, so I have challenged myself to experiment a lot more lately. I find that “happy accidents” often breathe life into my work. I am trying to allow myself to make more of them… something which has always been difficult for me.
Which comes first - the story or the illustrations?
I would have to say that my work generally starts with character. Sometimes I will know their story before I get started. However, I usually get to know them even better while I sketch. I answer silly questions about them… What do they eat for breakfast? What was their favorite vacation? Who is their biggest hero? These questions help me to understand how they will react in certain situations. Sometimes it will even add a subplot to the story or image that I never would have thought of otherwise.
Andi can be found at:
Facebook Fan page: Andi Osiek Illustration
Anything else you would like to add about your art, your writing, or your road to publication?
I would say that the best advice I have been given is to embrace relationships and connections with others in the field. I joined SCBWI several years ago and attend every conference I can. I’m not afraid to ask questions, I try to share what I’ve learned with others, and I treasure the friendships I have made along the way. I now have many friends (in person and online) who I can turn to for advice, support and encouragement. Plus, it’s pretty darn cool when I see a friend’s book in the bookstore or library. I celebrate along with them and look forward to a time when they can do the same with me.
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Author/Illustrator of the Week.