Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Interview with Illustrator K.C. Snider

Children's book illustrator K.C. Snider hails from Oregon. In this interview she talks about her working environment, the importance of discipline, and her collaboration with authors.

Do you consider yourself to be a born illustrator?

Yes! I’ve been drawing since I was 10 years old. I can’t remember wanting to do anything else but to be an artist. I greatly admired the work of Norman Rockwell, America’s most famous illustrator; his work had a great influence on me. As a young adult, I attended commercial art school and graduated with honors. I intended on becoming a commercial illustrator, but marriage and family came first. With encouragement from many people including my husband, I began to paint again and became more of a fine artist. Now through my association with Mary Jean Kelso and then Guardian Angel Publishing, I have been able to add illustration to my portfolio.

Did you always want to be an illustrator?

I would say that I have always been an illustrator because even when I am painting a piece that is just for my own enjoyment, I am telling a story.

What do you do for inspiration and unleashing your creativity?

When I was illustrating Mayra’s picture book, “The Magic Violin,” I played classical music. It was a great inspiration to me. Usually, it is not hard for me to get inspiration. Because I love my work so much, sometimes my fingers just itch to pick up the brush or pencil.

Describe your working environment.

I have a studio with lots of windows in my home that is devoted to my work. Right now, we are doing a little remodeling and I’ll have a new wood floor and a cabinet with a glass door to display my ribbons and awards for my art. My studio is my sanctuary. My husband, Fred, has a separate studio for his framing which we built this past year. That has given me a lot more space in my own studio which I needed because I may have a number of pieces in progress at any given time.

Are you a disciplined illustrator? What is your working style?

Yes, I am very disciplined. As a trained commercial artist, I know that I have to complete my work in a timely manor. And I love my work; I love the sense of accomplishment when a piece is finished and I get kudos from my family and friends. Although I work at all times of the day, I do a lot of my work in the evening. At times I will get so engrossed in my work that it will be 2 am before I put down the brush or pencil. When I’m illustrating, I typically have a work of fine art in progress that I switch to from time to time just to give me a break. Right now my work in progress is a painting of some pioneer children, their teacher and a one-room school house in the late 1800’s.

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

You bet: http://kcsniderart.com/

What are you working on now?

I’m illustrating the second in the series of ‘Andy and Spirit’ books written by Mary Jean Kelso, titled “Andy and Spirit Go to the Fair.” The first in the series, “Andy and the Albino Horse,” will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing in April 2008. This has been a very challenging series for me because the subject is much more complicated. Andy is a young boy in a wheelchair, so I have a new dimension to think about. And Spirit is an albino mustang, a very unusual horse. This series promises to be a wonderful story line for children and parents as it teaches about tolerance and compassion.

Where are your books available?

Guardian Angel Publishing, B&N, Amazon or order in person at Barnes and Noble or Borders book store.

What was your experience in working with a writer?

The first book I illustrated was “The Christmas Angel” written by Mary Jean Kelso who happens to be a personal friend. During the process of illustrating that book, Mary had very little input. Then I was given the opportunity to illustrate “The Magic Violin” written by Mayra Calvani. Mayra wanted more input and I want to thank her for all of her assistance during the process. I learned so much about working with a writer as the emails flew back and forth from Oregon to Belgium. It was a great experience. Now that I am illustrating another book for Mary, we are communicating constantly about the illustrations and I feel that my work is better because of this collaboration.


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