My guest today is talented illustrator and sometimes author Kit Grady. Grady has worked for Windswept House Publishers, Kaeden Books, Guardian Angel Publishing, The United Methodist Publishing House and Kicksclub Books. In this interview, Grady talks about her road to illustrating, her style and working with children's books. To learn more about her work, visit her website.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you started illustrating children's books?
I have always enjoyed drawing and expressing myself on paper. I attended Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in art, and later many SCBWI Conferences plus all the writing an illustrating classes I could find. My first book, Jiggsy’s Necklace, I wrote and illustrated, was published with Windswept House. Later I wrote and illustrated one for Kaeden Books. I have had many types of projects throughout the years and learned so much. (Yet always finding more I need to know) I currently work with Guardian Angel Publishing as one of their illustrators and illustrate for Kicks Publications. I have several projects in the wings. I stay busy which is a good thing.
How would you describe your style?
I strive for a more painterly style even though I use photoshop on the computer to do the art work. I try to keep my illustrations colorful, with lots of expression and action.
What excites you about a picture book manuscript?
I love the process. When I first get a manuscript, I look through it for a great story, good pacing and picture possibilities. When you find these types of manuscripts it really gets you excited. You may have a story you enjoy doing the illustrations and know the pictures will be of the subjects you do well, but if deep down you know the story is not what it should be, it can be a problem. I have been so fortunate to have many good stories to work with. I strive for a great book.
Which picture books are hard to illustrate? Which ones are easy?
This is hard to say. I begin my work on the sketch pad before scanning it into the computer to design, color, and complete. Sometimes you are just working, working, working on a character or creature and you cannot get it the way you want — maybe the equivalent to writer’s block — when, out of the blue, you get the image you like and it moves quickly. Some parts of the book can be so easy and then you find another illustration to be challenge. Each book has its own unique set of problems and solutions.
Do you get into 'The Zone' often when you work on your art? How would you describe 'The Zone'?
I’m sure it is the same feeling as in writing, sports or whatever one does, when it is coming together and you feel all is working so well you want to just keep going; losing all sense of time and the things happening around you. I love that place.
Do you have a website and blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
You can find me at www.kitgrady.com and stop by my blog and leave me a comment at Kit-grady.blogspot.com.
Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers?
Illustrators and writers keep writing or drawing, and strive to be their very best.
I feel blessed to be doing what I love.