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

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