Brian Schatell

Animals

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

Animals

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

Animals

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.


Claudia Rueda

Animals

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

Animals

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


Rae Crawford

Animals

Rae Crawford is an illustrator, author, and comic artist from the most mysterious regions of the Chicagoland suburbs. She is the creator of the webcomic, I’m Broken, Send Help. When she graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Communication Design, she became a designer by day and an illustrator by night. She loves cartoons, comics, puns, cooking and working on fanzines. Rae currently lives in NYC with her partner, her iPad and a few assorted stuffed animals and plants.

Where do I go for inspiration?

When I’m feeling low on inspiration, I love to watch animated cartoons and movies of all genres and varieties. I browse Instagram where I follow amazing artists and creatives who are always doing something new and exciting. Sometimes, I’ll grab graphic novels from my bookshelf and spend all day soaking in them. But one of my favorite ways to get inspired is to converse with people I find really interesting and insightful. I believe your own perspective can only take you so far.

What is your favorite food?

“There is no aspect, no facet, no moment of life that can’t be improved with pizza.” – Daria

My favorite topping combos are pepperoni & mushroom and just sausage. Fruit does not belong on pizza. Looking at you, pineapples. I have lived in both Chicago and New York. Vito & Nick’s Pizzeria in Chicago has the best thin-crust pizza I’ve ever tasted. But I have a lot of love for my local NY joint. My preference is thin-crust but don’t sleep on the deep dish from Pequod’s (Chicago). I’d prefer my local joint to any fast food place but if necessary, give me Domino’s. Query me for additional pizza-related opinions, quotes and recommendations.

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT RAE

Art Process:

Before anything else, I break the project up in a to-do list and set goals. I invest as much time, love and care into brainstorming, outlining, and conceptualizing as I can because it is the foundation of the rest of the project. I usually conceptualize ideas with my laptop, ipad, sketchbook and notepad on hand because I never know where my ideas will be best articulated. I usually draw thumbnails and write dialogue side by side. Once the groundwork is solid, I begin sketching.

Sometimes I start on paper but more likely, I will start in Procreate. My sketches start pretty rough but it helps me plan out composition and iron out my thoughts with visuals. Then I do a couple rounds of refining my sketch until I’m happy with how the elements are harmonizing. The sketches I deliver are typically a solid reflection of the final product. Once I get approval, I do a final inking stage and then I spend a day or two agonizing over the color and texture. I work almost exclusively in Procreate now but I will export my finals into photoshop to adjust colors. As a designer myself, if I’m not delivering flat images, I will go in and label my layers accordingly.

Awards and honors:

Adobe Design Achievement & MAX Awards (2014, 2017)


Joshua Smeaton

Animals

Joshua Smeaton was born on his birthday.

When he was a teenager, Josh jabbed a friend in the finger with a Rapid-O-Graph pen. The friend still has the single dot permanently etched on his skin. Josh is still waiting to hear from top ink recruiters in the tattoo industry.

Josh’s parents required him to become an Eagle Scout before he could get his driver’s license. He got his license the day he turned sixteen and was shortly after pulled over by the police for looking too young to drive. Josh then nearly caused an accident pulling back onto the road.

Josh won a Xeric award once. That was a good day. The Xeric grant was created by Peter Laird, one of the guys who created The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Josh’s favorite ninja turtle is Donatello. He used to own a first printing of issue 4 of the original comic book series. 

Bill Murray once ate Josh’s French fries at an In-N-Out Burger. They talked about music and driving across the country. They have not kept in touch.

Josh wanted to name his son Taylor Rex so he could call him T-Rex for short. His wife vetoed this.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I loved The Great Brain series of books by John D. Fitzgerald. In 7th grade, I won a contest to turn your favorite book into a poster using The Great Brain.

Favorite Comic Book, hands down, was Sergio Aragonés’ Groo The Wanderer. It was my biggest influence in wanting to draw comics. 

What is your favorite food?

Chocolate chip cookies.

Mediums:

Published books:

Haunted – Self published 2009

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT JOSHUA

Art Process:

I’ll do some sketching/doodling in my sketchbook or cheap spiral notebooks. (I have tons.) Mostly just loose unfinished things in pencil or ballpoint pen. I use my good friends Google and Pinterest to find reference or inspiration on the subject. I’ll grab a bunch of images and put them all in a program called Pure Ref. It allows me to view all the images in one place, zooming in or out. 

For the final work, I draw on my computer with my tablet. I primarily draw in Clip Studio Paint. Sometimes I’ll color in CSP but more often I still use Photoshop. 

Specialties:

Location:

Visit Joshua at:

Available for School Visits:

Make Your Own Graphic Novel

I show slides of my own process, from how I get my ideas and the steps of developing them, to how I turn pictures into words and ultimately, a finished graphic novel or comic book. We’ll then segue into creating, where I do live sketching and the students will follow along creating and drawing their own ideas. 

Awards and honors:

Xeric.


Chelsea Carr

Animals

Chelsea Carr is a cartoonist who lives and works in Street, Maryland. Her work has appeared in MAD Magazine, HuffPost Parents, and on Disney’s parenting website, Babble. For the past 16 years, she has been the editorial cartoonist for two of her local papers, The Aegis and The Record. Chelsea is an art teacher, and has worked with students from preschool through fifth grade. She is a graduate of The Maryland Institute, College of Art (BFA) and Johns Hopkins University (MAT.)

In addition to cartooning, Chelsea enjoys spending time with her family, gardening and taking on an assortment of increasingly ridiculous hobbies.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is steamed crabs, which is probably a very boring answer for a Marylander, but it’s true. I try to get steamed crabs with my friends every year on my birthday.

What cool travel spots would you most highly recommend?

I really enjoy traveling. My favorite place I’ve been internationally is probably either Japan or New Zealand. Locally, my family tries to visit Chincoteague Island, VA every year. It’s a small island on the east coast that has a beach and a population of wild ponies. 

Mediums:

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT CHELSEA

Art Process:

I start each project by staring off into space and trying to come up with an idea. When I think I have something good, I make a note in my phone’s Notes app. If you ever found my phone and looked at the Notes app, you would probably be very worried about me because it’s basically a nonsensical list of things that made sense to me at some point in my life.

Next, I take my notes and expand them into something that makes sense for anyone who might come across them. Usually this involves sitting in front of a computer and typing out a script. When I’ve finished a script and paginated it (if necessary) I go onto the drawing stage.

When I draw, I start with thumbnails so I can get an idea for the length of the project, page turns, etc. I usually do this in a sketchbook, and when I’m happy with the thumbnails I work on the iPad for the completed piece.

On the iPad, I start by making a rough sketch of what I did for my thumbnails, and then I refine it in a new layer, and finally I color it. 

Location:

Visit Chelsea at:

Available for School Visits:

I am a certified teacher in the state of Maryland, and I love to share my work with children. For a school or library visit, I do a short presentation on my work, and then conduct a workshop with students on writing their own comic. I tie these workshops into either ELA Common Core standards or the National Core Art Standards.

One thing that is particularly important to me is making sure less-privileged schools have access to special programs. If I were invited in for a school visit, I would also do the same program at a nearby Title 1 school for free. 

Awards and honors:

Chelsea has won several awards for her editorial cartoons from the MDDC Press Association.

In 2018, Scholastic invited her to NYC to help judge the Herblock Award for Editorial Cartoons.


Joe Latham

Animals

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.


Lindsey Leigh

Animals

Lindsey Leigh is an illustrator and comic artist originally from Maryland. She has a BFA in illustration from Syracuse University as well as an MA in graphic design from the Maryland Institute College of Art. In between, she also interned at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in the entomology department, diligently illustrating beetles.

Her work is inspired by mythology, folklore, and the natural world. Though her work ranges from the cozy and comforting to the unsettling and spooky, she aims to imbue even the scariest monster with a tender charm. She also has an encyclopedic knowledge of weird animal facts and a passionate love for snails and slugs. She currently lives in Massachusetts.

Who or what inspires you the most, and why?

I am endlessly inspired by the mysteries of our world, from the darkest depths of the sea to the furthest reaches of space.

What do you love to do for fun?

I love to go to art museums, natural history museums, and take long walks in the local cemetery.

Specialties:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT LINDSEY

Art Process:

I typically start the process doing research and gathering reference material. This part of the process really appeals to me because I love to learn everything I can about the subject I’m drawing. 

Then, I usually create very rough, small thumbnail drawings (that only I can really read!) to help me figure out the composition.

Once I start the final, I start with a pencil sketch, then inking with a range of tools such as nib pens, technical pens, and brush pens. Once that is completed, I will scan the drawing in, and then clean it up and color it with Photoshop. As a final step, I will overlay scanned ink wash textures that I have made into the final illustration to give it some extra dimension. (Occasionally, I will use a photo I’ve taken of something more unusual, like moss or lichen, to overlay into the illustration!) My favorite step of the process is definitely inking; it’s where I have the most fun.

Mediums:

Location:

Visit Lindsey at:

Available for School Visits:

Yes! I love to speak with students about the process of creating their own stories and comics.