Brian Schatell

Watercolor

I draw silly animals for a living.  I am the illustrator of 16 books for children, mostly picture books, some of which I have also written.  I taught children’s book illustration and writing for twelve years at Parsons School of Design, and for sixteen years served as chair or co-chair of the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature’s annual One-on-One Conference for aspiring authors and illustrators.  I’ve also done extensive illustration work for the children’s educational market and for the children’s apparel industry.  Aside from my career creating art for children, I have a long list of diverse and eclectic interests/hobbies for which I have great passion but not enough hours! 

What do you love to do for fun?

Visit used bookstores and used record stores.

What is your favorite children's book?

Frog and Toad Are Friends, by Arnold Lobel. The greatest book ever written in the English language and everything that I aspire to as an author/illustrator of children’s books!

Mediums:

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT BRIAN

Art Process:

For many, many years I’ve kept a small notebook in my back pocket. When inspiration strikes I’ll quickly sketch or jot down an idea, a character, a line of dialogue, a turn-of phrase. These stray bits and pieces accumulate over time until they gradually coalesce into a book concept with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It’s an organic process. I currently have folders full of these scrips and scraps at various stages of gestation.

All of my illustrations contain some kind of black line art, and all of them begin with me sketching by hand with pencil on tracing paper. Lots and lots of tracing paper! Then depending on how I want the finished product to appear, there are three ways I might proceed. I will either scan the pencil sketch into the computer and use it as a template to draw the final line art digitally, or more commonly, I will develop the sketch into an black ink drawing on paper and then scan the completed black line into the computer to color digitally. Or option three, where I don’t scan anything at all and just watercolor the line art. Whatever the method, I expend a great amount of effort to make sure that the final art retains the spontaneity of my original pencil sketches.

Though I specialize in drawing funny animals in funny situations, (I’m partial to cows and chickens) I’m nevertheless interested in stories that are character driven and that have emotional resonance – not a contradiction, actually. The most important attributes of children’s book illustration in my mind are character and emotion, balance and clarity, flow and pacing. My rule is that every little thing put on the page should be there for a reason.

Forthcoming books:

The Bumble Brothers: Crazy for Comics (Reycraft, 2022)

Published books:

Selected Titles:

Farmer Goff and His Turkey Sam (Lippincott, 1982)
Two Crazy Pigs (Scholastic/Cartwheel, 1992)
Pup and Pop (Scholastic/Cartwheel, 2003)
Owl Boy (Holiday House, 2016)

Location:

Available for School Visits:

I love to do school visits. I have a two-part presentation, geared towards younger grades. Part one covers authors, illustrators and the book making process, from initial idea through writing, sketching, final art and printing, with visual examples. In part two, the students are the authors and I am the illustrator, as I draw an impromptu story from audience suggestions.


Ariel Rutland

Watercolor

Ariel Rutland is an award-winning designer and illustrator whose work focuses on themes of nature, curiosity, humor, and beauty in everyday objects. She grew up in a cozy central New Jersey suburb down the street from a great big house with a pond. Many weekends of her childhood were spent strolling the neighborhood with her Grandma, who would often take the train from Manhattan down to “the country.” She credits their endless neighborhood walks spent storytelling about the squirrels, birds, and rocks that crossed their path as inspiration for her art… and ability to (bring to her art?) view nature and the world through the wondrous eyes of a child…

Ariel graduated from University of Maryland with a degree in fine art and concentration in graphic design. She worked as a product designer at Martha Stewart, followed by lead designer at a boutique branding agency. Her artwork has been licensed to American Greetings, Minted, Target, and West Elm, being featured on greeting cards and home decor. She is currently illustrating a forthcoming children’s book. When she isn’t drawing and designing, she can be found playing in the backyard with her three young boys and husband in Yardley, Pennsylvania.

What was your favorite book as a child?

My bedtime book request was always Stellaluna. The illustrations completely transported me into the night sky. I now read it to my boys, who are equally as captivated and curious about these tender characters as I was.

Who or what inspires you the most, and why?

Watching my kids grow.

Mediums:

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT ARIEL

Art Process:

I start by asking questions and diving into the subject matter to find answers and (hopefully) discover hidden gems that I can weave into the illustrations. I want to fully immerse myself in the world that I am about to draw. Then I do a lot of loose pencil sketches on paper, continuing to iterate until I find what’s working. Next begins my back-and-forth dance from digital to analogue and back. After I’ve sketched on paper, I create a digital version so I can easily manipulate the pieces—move the tree a little to the left, add some birds, change the season. After I’ve created this digital foundation of flat shapes, I move back to paper and use various media like watercolor, ink, and cut paper—sometimes scribbles from my kids— to create textures and other hand-made marks that I will eventually scan and layer into the digital file. I love using the Procreate app on my iPad and Photoshop for final refinements. Whether I’m working purely digital or a combination, it’s important I retain a hand-made, “perfectly imperfect,” emotive quality to the final art.

Location:

Visit Ariel at:

Awards and honors:

NYPL Best Teens Book List, 2007
Selected as one of 5 Japanese artists to meet Japanese Prime Minister Abe, 2015

Available for School Visits:

Not at this time.

Forthcoming books:

Apart, Together written by Linda Booth Sweeney (coming 2022, Balzer + Bray)


Katie Risor

Watercolor

Katie Risor is a professional illustrator, author, and designer creating fantastical storybook art in San Antonio, Texas. Growing up on books like The NeverEnding Story, Mary Poppins and Winnie the Pooh and playing outside every day with her friends led her to create art and stories inspired by nature, everyday experiences, and a little bit of magic.

Professionally, Katie works on picture books, covers, advertising, product design, and book design. She also enjoys geeking out about art supplies and teaching the fun of creativity to others. You can see her tutorials on Tik Tok and Instagram.

Why do you like to draw creatures?

A lot of ingredients went into my brain and came out as my creatures. The true inciting incident is when I got The NeverEnding Story from Blockbuster when I was about ten years old. I watched that movie, and Falcor’s been flying up in my brain ever since. Before that, Snuffleupagus was my favorite Sesame Street character and I’ve always loved fairies, dragons, gnomes and such. But Falcor was life-changing.

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT KATIE

Art Process:

Every project, whether it’s a single illustration or an entire book, starts with an idea. Ideas can pop into my head anytime, but whenever I want to get a new idea I lay on the floor, close my eyes, and wait. Laying on the floor with properly inspiring music will usually give me something.

Next is brainstorming and iteration. For a whole book, this means sketching and storyboarding. For a single illustration this means doing iterative compositional sketches. I want to choose a composition that effectively delivers information to the viewer but is also pleasant, surprising, or delightful to look at, something that goes beyond the main idea.

The best illustrations I do always come from ideas I can see clearly in my head and for which I have a solid execution plan. However, I do like to leave room in the process for playing around. I think that’s why I like traditional media so much; no matter how much you know about the medium, you can’t be fully in control.

Mediums:

Location:

Visit Katie at:

Available for School Visits:

I love teaching art workshops for kids of all ages, but especially youngsters. I showcase the design process  and inspire kids to tap into their own creativity. I do demos on “what if” storytelling, comics, drawing fantasy creatures, and painting.And finally, I explain the book making process and what sort of jobs creative kids can go into.


Leonardo Quiles

Watercolor

Leonardo Quiles is an author, illustrator, and educator. His career in computer generated visual effects for feature film and advertising laid the groundwork for his interest in sequential narrative. Visual storytelling inspires his interest in developing original content for children’s graphic novels, as well as animation, editorial illustration, and other comics work. 

Leo studied Illustration at Parsons School of Design and holds a BA is Art History from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and an MFA in Illustration from the University of Hartford. He is an elementary school Visual Arts teacher working and living in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts with his wife, their two children, and their puppy Roxy.

Leo is the recipient of the 2021 We Need Diverse Books Mentorship with author/illustrator Mike Curato, Flamer, Henry Holt, 2021.

What was your favorite book as a child?

My favorite book as a child was “Where the Wild Things Are”. I remember wanting to draw like Maurice Sendak, even as a child. I would copy his characters, sometimes tracing them. I especially liked the griffin character from the Wild Rumpus scene. I imagine there is still an element of Sendak’s work influencing my own work today.

Visit Leo at:

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT LEO

Location:

Art Process:

I keep a sketchbook and I draw regularly. My design process always begins with drawing. My solution is found somewhere between my head and my hand. As I am cognitively working out the design problem, I am also visually problem solving on paper. Once I have a sketch I’m happy with, I’ll bring it into Procreate to clean-up, to finalize the composition and to set the scale for the final artwork. The sketch is then printed onto a heavy stock paper, like watercolor or vellum. If the final work is a comics page, I’ll ink the line work traditionally with steel nibs and paint watercolor for the fills. If the work is a more traditional illustration, I’ll paint the final steps in gouache.

Mediums:

Awards and honors:

2021 We Need Diverse Books Mentorship Award with author/illustrator Mike Curato, Flamer, Henry Holt, 2021.  

2021 Practice Kindness, pencil, ink, watercolor on paper. Norman Rockwell Museum – permanent collection. 

2019 Charmed, porcelain. 20-year anniversary show for Sienna Patti Contemporary, Lenox, MA. Museum of Fine Arts Boston – permanent collection.

2018  Murray Tinkelman Award for Excellence in Illustration.

Available for School Visits:

I am an elementary school visual arts teacher. In many ways, I feel as though I do a school visit every day! 

For author visits, I read a passage from my graphic novel, HOME, then lead an activity where we create a “mini-zine” with 8.5×11’ paper and pens. I can also work with students to create a folded paper sculpture of a traditional folk mask, a vejigante, that they can color, cut, fold, glue and wear. 


Claudia Rueda

Watercolor

Claudia Rueda is a Colombian picture book author, New York Times Best Seller illustrator and a 2016 Hans Christian Andersen award nominee. Her books have been published throughout North America, Europe and Asia and have been translated into thirteen different languages. She’s the author of Bunny Slopes (Chronicle), a New York Public Library and Junior Library Guild Selection and the illustrator of Here Comes the Easter Bunny (Dial), a Kirkus Best Book of the year and a Goodreads Choice Award.

Claudia went to Law and Art school and worked as a political cartoonist in Colombia and then studied Children’s Book Illustration at UC Berkeley. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University and she’s the 2009 recipient of the Billie M.Levy research grant awarded by the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I didn’t have access to many children’s books as a child. But I remember going again and again through the Andersen, Grimm and Oscar Wilde illustrated collection we had at home. I remember every simple picture from those books.

What do you love to do for fun?

Hiking, biking, traveling, reading, walking, cooking, bookstores, swimming, visiting markets, eating ice cream and laughing with my daughters.

Mediums:

Art Process:

I normally start by doodling, writing notes, and drawing rough sketches. I use a light color pencil for the first lines, then go over them with a 2B pencil. I find it intimidating to start with expensive paper or with an unerasable line. I’d rather allow myself to make mistakes.

The next step is to create a storyboard, and from there, a rough dummy of the book. Once the visual narrative seems to be working, I work on the appearance of the characters and then the sketches for the final art. After a few months I experiment with different media until I find the one that fits the story.

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT CLAUDIA

Specialties:

Awards and honors:

Junior Library Guild Selection

NYPL Best Books for Kids Selection

Hans Christian Andersen Award Nomination

Astrid Lindgren Award Nomination

Kirkus Best Books Selection

Goodreads Choice Awards

New York Times Bestseller

Bank Street College Best Children’s Books

Amazon Little Bookworms Selection

Parents Magazine Best Children’s Book

​​CCBC choice selection

Oppenheim Platinum Award

IBBY Honor List Nomination

Available for School Visits:

I do library visits, both for children and librarians. For children, I do storytime, make some drawing samples and answer questions. For Adults, I talk or give a workshop on picture book creation.

Location:

Published books:

AS WRITER AND ILLUSTRATOR
-Redlocks and the Three Bears ·2021· Chronicle Books (coming in November)
-Bunny Overboard· 2020· Chronicle Books
-Hungry Bunny · 2018· Chronicle Books
-Bunny Slopes · 2016 · Chronicle Books
-Is it Big or is it Little? · 2013 · Eerdmans
-Huff & Puff · 2012 · Abrams Books
-No · 2010 · Groundwood
-My Little Polar Bear · 2009 · USA· Scholastic Press
-Let’s Play in the Forest While the Wolf Is Not Around · 2006 · USA· Scholastic Press

AS ILLUSTRATOR
-Here Comes Teacher Cat · Text by Deborah Underwood · 2017 · Dial Penguin
-Here Comes the Tooth Fairy Cat · Text by Deborah Underwood · 2015 · Dial Penguin
-Here Comes Valentine Cat · Text by Deborah Underwood · 2015 · Dial Penguin
-Here Comes The Easter Cat · Text by Deborah Underwood · 2014 · Dial Penguin
-Here Comes Santa Cat · Text by Deborah Underwood · 2014 · Dial Penguin
-Nacho and Lolita · Text by Pam Muñoz · 2005 · Scholastic Press

Visit Claudia at:


Turtleboat

Watercolor

Turtleboat is a comic book artist and illustrator based in NYC. He works primarily with pen and ink, and colors either digitally or with watercolor. His clients include Okayplayer.com, Random House, and VOX Media. 

In his free time he watches highlights of PRIDE FC and K1 Championships, or collects reference photos from Pinterest and photo books. He also has a grey cat named Kato.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Favorite comic book growing up was definitely Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama.

What is your favorite food?

Favorite food is Korean braised beef stew made by my mom.

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT TURTLEBOAT

Art Process:

I start off with loose pencil sketches. After that, I spend a good chunk of time finding the correct reference materials. If I can’t find them, I pose for them myself (LOL).

Once the pencils are roughly in place, I utilize a lightbox to ink with a combination of nib pen, microns and brush. I scan the finished inks, and decide to either color traditionally with watercolor, or digitally with Photoshop. Once the back and neck aches start creeping in, I step away and stretch or workout a little bit. Then, back to the drawing!

Published books:

Awkwafina’s NYC 2015 – illustrator, sketch
Pankronicles: Early History of MMA – illustrator for Youtube series under Bloody Elbow, VOX Media

Mediums:

Location:

Visit Turtleboat at:

Available for School Visits:

I’ve spoken at a panel for comics creators at the Queens Book Festival, as well as at a program for high school students at the New School. I enjoy presenting about the craft of comics

Awards and honors:

Silent Manga Audition, Coamix – SMA5, Award Nominee
Silent Manga Audition – SMA4, Award Nominee


Rivkah LaFille

Watercolor

Rivkah LaFille (pronounced “lah-fee”) is a children’s illustrator, writer, designer and graphic novelist living in Austin, TX. Her graphic novel series, Steady Beat, was nominated to the American Library Association’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens list. She was nominated as a Lulu of the Year by Friends of Lulu for her work in promoting women in comics, and she won the Austin SCBWI Portfolio Showcase Award, presided over by Caldecott winner and New York Times bestselling author, Dan Santat.

In the early 2000s, she was the publisher and art director of a small literary publishing house, Rabid Press. Her “eureka!” moment happened when one day she woke up and realized she was going to make comics for the rest of her life instead. She did. She does. And she hasn’t looked back since.

Currently, she is illustrating a graphic novel with First Second, another with Candlewick, teaching comics-making classes, and making magic!

What was your favorite book as a child?

Miss Rumphius is STILL one of my favorites. It’s all about leaving the world a better place than we found it, which is basically my life motto.

What do you love to do for fun?

Gardening is my Happy Place. There is something so satisfying in taking care of a plant from seed, watering it, tending it, and watching it turn into a fruit or vegetable that you can eat. But watching the cycles of nature reminds me of the cycles within my own life: that even as the world grows and blooms and dies, new life is born out of it once again.

Mediums:

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT RIVKAH

Art Process:

My art process is a balance between logical problem-solving and creative intuition. I begin by thinking about the project as a whole: what is the tone, the technique, the style that would best suit this project? What is its age range? What’s the timeline? Every project has different demands, and before I start drawing, I think of what those demands are and how to answer them.

The rest, however, is largely a matter of doing and refining. Whether I’m creating fast and loose storyboards or finely detailed picture books, working in digital or analog mediums, the end result is an editorial style that refines itself with every step until it becomes exactly what the project needs: something that speaks loudly and clearly to my audience!

Published books:

STEADY BEAT v1 – Tokyopop – 2005 (YA LGBTQ+ graphic novel)
STEADY BEAT v2 – Tokyopop – 2007 (YA LGBTQ+ graphic novel)
MANGAKA AMERICA – HarperCollins – 2007 (tutorial book)
CREATIVE WRITING WITH MISS MARY MAC – First Second – date TBD (nonfiction graphic novel)

Location:

Visit Rivkah at:

Available for School Visits:

I love talking to (and with) students! My talks range from discussing my comics-making process to more inspirational-type discussions about finding your path in life and how to not be afraid of making mistakes…and to learn and grown from them! I specialize in talking to teens and tweens, but also adults wanting to make graphic novels for ages babies to teens.

Awards and honors:

Nominated to the YALSA GREAT GRAPHIC NOVELS for TEENS List in 2007
Friends of Lulu Award 2007 – Nominee
Winner of the 2019 SCBWI Portfolio Showcase Award (and runner up previous two years) presided over by Caldecott Winner Dan Santat


Eva Cabrera

Watercolor

Latina comic artist, Will Eisner and GLAAD Award nominee, Eva Abrera is the co-founder of Mexican studio BoudikaComics. She was born in Veracruz, Mexico, but most of the time she likes to travel and see other places. She is a lover of animals, magic and nature. In her free time she likes to read books and play video games.

Since she was little, she has been fascinated by telling stories through drawing. Little by little, she has developed her work as a female comics artist, and it’s become very important for her to be a representative of the creative women in Mexico.

She drew the Betty & Veronica series: Archie Comics’ Vixens, Black Mask Studio’s “Kim & Kim”, and has worked with publishers such as TopCow, ComiXology Originals, etc. She has done covers for BOOM Studios’ Adventure Time comics.

She makes videos on Youtube where she shares her experiences as a creator. You can find her on all her social networks as @evacabrera.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Alice in Wonderland. I loved the idea of traveling to a crazy and psychedelic world.

Who or what inspires you the most, and why?

I could make a long list of people and things that inspire me — but generally, what inspires me is people who are striving to achieve their dreams and who emanate a very positive energy in the world.

Mediums:

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT EVA

Art Process:

I always start with a sketch on paper. I like to write many ideas and sketch whatever comes to mind. Later I pick the ideas that seem most functional and start experimenting, reworking them on the computer.

When I work for publishers, I have to be faster, so I’ve started to work primarily digitally, but if I have time, I make ideas with watercolor or inks.

My priority is to deliver on the established dates, but I never neglect quality. I still feel that I have a lot to learn. That is the cool thing about my work: even with all the years that I have been a comic artist, I continue to learn and will never stop learning.

Published books:

  • Betty and Veronica: VIXENS (Archie Comics, 2016 – Present)
  • Open Earth (Oni Press, 2017)

And many others… click here for a complete bibliography.

Location:

Visit Eva at:

Available for School Visits:

I love doing readings and literary workshops for both adults and children. Spanish is my native language and I prefer doing events in Spanish.

Awards and honors:

Nominations:
GLAAD Award 2019 “Oh S#!t it’s Kim & Kim” as best “Outstanding Comic Book”
Will Eisner Award 2017 “Kim & Kim” as best “Limited Series”


Joe Latham

Watercolor

Joe Latham is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Bristol, UK. He cut his teeth creating custom MySpace Pages (RIP) for bands, which lead to a lot of interesting projects. From designing bespoke Golf Balls for celebrities to animating music videos for Cradle of Filth, Joe has done design work for Jilly Cooper, The Joy Formidable, Five Seconds of Summer, Uniform Dating, Ok Cupid, IndieGoGo, a number of UK Universities, Sony Music, and Warner Music, to name a few.

Joe has self-published a number of comic books and regularly exhibits at UK comic festivals. He’s planning to exhibit at other European and International festivals in the future. He loves meeting people and talking to them about his work.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Winnie the Pooh, or possibly The Giraffe, The Pelican and Me. It’s a tough call, because Roald Dahl was exciting in a way that other books have never been, but Winnie the Pooh has stayed with me forever. I used to take a collected version to my Mum’s piano lessons when I was a kid, and sit there next to a stinky gas fire with a tubby black-haired scotty dog. The dog would lay on its back getting a weird sunburn on its belly from the fire (and it would fart, all the time).

What cool travel spots would you most highly recommend?

Copenhagen, for its incredibly comfortable culture, amazing pastries (get a hot cinnamon swirl, your life will never be the same again), great coffee and beer, cool electric city bicycles, amazing museums and great food. 

I’d also recommend Berlin. It’s an amazing place, though it changes every year. It never sleeps. Seriously.

One of the happiest times of my life was driving up the West coast of the USA. We hired a car and drove from San Francisco up to Portland. It was the most free I’ve ever felt, and I hope to go back one day for longer adventures.

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT JOE

Art Process:

I like my work to feel tangible and retain a sense of the energy you get from those early drawings, so I try to make sure the final pieces are refined enough, yet expressive. It means that each stage of the process is relatively quick in order to keep some of that feeling.

Typically I draw my thumbnail sketches with a Fountain Pen, then using a smaller paper size I will draw the final piece in rough using Blue Col-erase pencils (these are used a lot by animators – they don’t smudge yet aren’t too hard, so you can be nice and expressive). I then scan this, print it faintly on to smooth finish (hot press) Watercolour paper (it has a touch more tooth than Bristol board so I find it suits my inking style better – less smudges). Then I ink over this, mostly using a Kolinsky Sable no6 brush and a pot of ink, some fine liner work in there too. Scan it, colour it using Photoshop and an array of collected brushes that I’ve picked up down the years. I have a small handful that I return to most often.


David Pierce

Watercolor

Dave Pierce is an Author/Illustrator from the Northwest.

He re-discovered his passion for telling stories when he taught reading alongside his wife in the same Elementary classroom. Shortly after, he gained his certification to teach Art (K-12) and dove into the kidlit world via SCBWI. He is motivated by the “Ah-Hah!” moments that come when children read and stories that invite us to explore our place in the world.

He graduated from The Evergreen State College with an emphasis in Illustration, and studied Character Design and Digital Painting through The Oatley Academy of Visual Storytelling.

What do you love to do for fun?

Snowboard, Soccer, Hike, Music, Board and Video Games, and lots more. I probably have too many interests, but each one is so fun.

Favorite travel spots:

I’ve done a lot of travelling around Europe, but I have to say that Austria is my favorite. Go to Salzburg in the late spring and head into the mountains. Tell me you won’t have the Sound of Music running through your head!

Mediums:

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT DAVID

Art Process:

I try and leverage both digital and traditional media in my workflow.

One of the best things about working digitally is you can always undo things and make sweeping adjustments to composition by transforming and moving. This makes it a powerful tool early on when the ideas are just sketches. (Just don’t forget to click Save!)

As good as digital tools are, there’s something so *tangible* about creating traditionally. The feels and smells are wonderful, and I’ll get happy accidents that can inspire. Plus, you can work outside on a sunny day! (A rare treat in Washington State.)

I’ll usually make thumbnail ideas by pencil and scan them into the computer. Once in digital form, I’ll move its chunks around until I’m excited about it. From here I have a choice to continue digitally or print out the art for transfer via a light table. This works great for moving forward with Ink and Watercolor.

Sometimes I’ll stay traditional if it’s graphite or dry media, or go all-digital if it’s going to be something that demands more control. The important thing is knowing your tools and which approach will be most useful.

Location:

Visit David at:

Available for School Visits:

I enjoy doing visits in the classroom setting. This allows for hands-on learning with the students and making something collaborative together. My goal is to inspire the next generation of creatives, and to encourage anyone to try drawing and storytelling, whether they consider themselves an artist or not.