Interview with Kevin Collier–Illustrator & Author

Today I welcome Kevin Collier–illustrator and author–to my blog. He is the probably the most productive person I know. He seems to create new books and illustrations with almost every breath. Be sure to visit his web pages to find out more about him and to see more of his amazing art work.

Since you are both an illustrator and author of numerous books for children (from preK to YA), my first question is which came first for you—illustrating or writing?

Illustrating. I started drawing my own pictures when I was 4 or 5. I didn’t really learn to write creatively until a few years later.

And is one easier for you than the other?

Drawing is easy but time consuming. Writing is time consuming and difficult. Writing is harder. It’s easier to move a pen and get the drawing you want than choose the right words for a critical moment in a story.

How has your career as an illustrator evolved?

I started drawing children’s books in 2005 when I stumbled into the business. I have gone from doing a hand full of illustrated books to dozens of new titles a year, now.

Your career as a writer?

My agent has many manuscripts my wife and I have written, and on average I have a couple written works published per year. It’s been good and rewarding.

Tell us about your most recent release. What was your inspiration for it?

Well, an upcoming release will be Professor Horace, Cryptozoologist. I got the idea from watching all of those mythical and legendary creature shows on National Geographic and The History channels. The book is fun, where an old professor goes in search of the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot and a Ropen. He finds them, but also uncovers the reason they all have yet to be discovered—they simply do not wish to be found. Thus, he makes them a promise—he shall not tell a soul of their meeting. But, when Horace returns home, he’s now the subject of curiosity… did he meet these creatures or not?

Tell us about your other children’s books.

GAP (Guardian Angel Publishing) recently published Dreamchaser, written by my wife Kristen and me. It was about an urban youth pondering trading in his education for a career in the NBA. My wife is writing a book titled The Jumbo Shrimp of Dire Straits, which I am illustrating. GAP will be publishing that, too. It’s about a Captain and his crew who take the old shrimp boat out into hazardous seas in search of an enormous Jumbo Shrimp. I am still writing a sequel to Esther’s Channel for Baker Trittin Press, and have illustrated books coming out from Sable Creek Press, Little Light Press, and Start Again Ministries. There are many vanity press titles I have illustrated for new authors, too, coming from Xlibris and Lifevest Publishing.

Where do you find your inspiration and new ideas?

I remain curious, always. That helps. You begin to imagine quite a bit. Even Jumbo Shrimp the size of a ship.

Describe your working environment.

I write at my home computer, or longhand at times and type it in later. I draw using a cheap clipboard, flair pens, and sit or lay on the living room floor when I illustrate. I scan all my art into my work computer, and color and finish it there.

Where can readers learn more about you and your works? And where are your books available?

My website, home page, etc. There’s tons of news about what’s coming, and links to every title for purchase.

What are you working on now?

Another illustration job for a sequel to Donna Shepherd’s Topsy Turvy Land book. It will be the third Topsy title I have illustrated, the first published by Hidden Picture Book Publishing, the second coming soon from LWP Inc. I am also starting illustrations for Donna on a manuscript she’s written titled Bradybug.

I know you are a master of promotion. Can you share a few of your secrets with us?

Use the internet. Put up fun, active, book and theme pages that promote your titles. Just get out there and shake the trees, fruit will fall.

What advice would you offer aspiring writers and illustrators?

If you have talent, the only way you will fail is to quit or give up. For every one book published, there’s a thousand that never were because a writer or illustrator threw in the towel. Don’t give up on your dream

MY LIGHT Magazine Illustrator Contest

Media Contact: Jennifer Gladen



PENNSYLVANIA (May 29, 2008) — The new Catholic E-Zine for children, My Light Magazine, is holding an illustration contest. The winner’s artwork will become the cover of My Light’s debut issue in August 2008.
My Light is a free online Catholic magazine for children. “The mission is to help children better understand their faith and grow closer to God,” Editor Jennifer Gladen said. The magazine includes stories, articles, crafts, Bible stories and poems.
Ms. Gladen is excited about the upcoming contest. “This is a great opportunity. Illustrating for the cover of a debut issue is an impressive addition to the resume’.” Deadline is July 1, 2008. Entries not chosen for August will receive first consideration for future issues.
For further information and guidelines, visit http://mylightmagazine.tripodcom Media contact:

Jennifer GladenEditor, My Light Magazinehttp://mylightmagazine.tripod.comhttp://mylightmagazine.stblogs.com

Author of A Star in the Night(Guardian Angel Publishing,Summer 2008)

Artist & Illustrator, K.C. Snider

Today, artist and illustrator, K.C. Snider, shares her story in this interview by Mayra Calvani, author and book reviewer.
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?

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,” [was] 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.

Click here to read a review of THE CHRISTMAS ANGEL at STORIES FOR CHILDREN ezine.

Andy and Spirit now have a blog you can visit to learn more about the series, as well as its illustrator–K.C. Snider, and its author–Mary Jean Kelso.

For information on Mayra Calvani, here are additional links: