Saturday, April 21, 2007

On the Spotlight: Kevin Scott Collier

How long have you been writing and illustrating?

A: I have been drawing since I was 5, and always dabbled in little fiction stories recreationally, but I didn't become published and in the business until 2004.

Your YA novel,, was recipient of the Graig’s Choice Award for Best Book in 2005 and has been referred to as a “masterpiece of communication”. Please tell us a bit about this book. What was your inspiration for it?

A: "" was a little story I wrote for fun for a niece. When I was mailing a printout of the story to her, I bumped into a children's book publisher at the post office. The two men were in Michigan on business (from Indiana) and I told them about my story concerning an angel who emails a boy on earth. They requested a copy, they met with me again two days later, and contracted me to expand the short fable into a book. The way the story came about was actually a joke I told my niece. She asked me if I pray, and I told her no, that I email God instead. One thing led to another, but the final story is more serious than whimsical.

You seem to be extremely prolific with your illustrations. What are your working habits? Do you have any ‘crazy artist’ quirks?

A: I essentially draw every evening, and pieces of several book projects all at once. So I juggle things by nature but daily push out product. Perhaps the biggest myth-buster is that I have a huge drawing desk and fancy tools to draw with. Not true. I use white typing paper, Flalir pens, and use a clipboard as my desk. I draw 80% of my books sitting on the living room carpet.

What type of illustrations do you enjoy working on the most?

A: Whimsical images, animals who resemble humans, etc. I like to draw characters and develop their appearances. The more adorable the image, the better.

You made the headlines with Topsy Turvy Land when it was chosen one of the 50 favorite books of all time. How does that make you feel—having your book right next to Dr. Seuss’, The Wind in the Willows and Charlotte’s Web?

A: I actually overlooked it and brushed it off until my agent and others pestered me as to its importance to promote in my resume. I drew the entire book in 3 evenings after my day job, so it was very short project. I see now that the honor is indeed something significant. I guess I should stop and smell the roses on occasion.

How would you compare the creative process of an author vs. that of an artist?

A: The two are totally different. One is text, the other literally visual in nature. I can say art is easier than writing, it's just as time consuming, but more relaxed. I do like being an artist a tad more than being a writer, because everyone claims to be a writer, but few people are actually artists.

Are you familiar with Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way? Do you think illustrating has a healing, channeling quality?

A: Yes I do. Tender and gentle illustrations convey love. Illustrators say a lot with their pictures, sometimes more than the words of the story they are drawing.

You seem to work on many projects at the same time. Do you follow a disciplined schedule to cope with all the work?

A: Yes, get something drawn every day, and move things and projects on their way. It's a constant process of starting and ending and beginning it all again. Coping with it usually has to do with the subjects I am drawing. It's hard to feel overwhelmed of discouraged when you are drawing a rabbit with a necktie. lol

I understand your work is represented by The Hartline Literary Agency. Was it easy for you to find an agent? What advice would you give to beginner illustrators who are in search of one?

A: Hartline approached me, so I never looked for an agent. It is great to have one. Advice? Send off CDs of your artwork, inquire, be personable. If you work and work ethic is good, you'll secure jobs.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers may learn more about you and your works?

A: Yes, my website is:
My blog is:

Leave us with some words of wisdom.

A: Don't take everything so seriously. Apply yourself, be committed to what you do, but have some fun. Life is too short, enjoy your time here.


Donna J. Shepherd said...

Great advice from Kevin, and a nice interview, Mayra! Thanks for sharing. - Donna

Shari Lyle-Soffe said...


I learn more about you all the time. You are full of surprises!


Terrific questions. I loved the interview!


Cynthia Reeg said...

Very interesting! Thanks, Kevin, for giving us a peek into your world. And thanks, Mayra, for asking such good questions. :)


Brenda said...

Wow Kevin,

What a great interview. And what a BEAUTIFUL WIFE AND SON you have.

I am so happy for you all.

Brenda Sturgis

Susan said...

Well I want to read the book! It sounds wonderful.
I think it ia wonderful that it started out as a joke. The story of mine that GAp is publishing came out of an exercise from a writer's workshop. The exercise was take a phrase or aphorism liek "there is a skeleton in my closet" and write as if it were real. I LOVE the idea of emailing God

Ron Harvie said...

Great interview, Kevin has illustrated three of my adventure books plus a coloring and activity book, he is currently working on the fourth. Kevi is an outstanding artist and has really brought the characters in the books to life. They appear so real and have definite personalities, I have found Kevin to be very approachable and has become a friend. Regards Ron Harvie