by Courtney Pippin-Mathur

e: What is your creative process, can you walk us through it?
Sometimes I start with sketches of the main character. Which can take hours to days to months to get right. (And then change again after the Art Director is attached to the book) Sometimes, I start with a phrase or general idea that I try to shape. I find that the ideas usually flow best while I’m drawing. When I sit down to type the story is when I try to hammer it into a decent shape.

e: What is your medium?
Watercolor with digital clean-up in Photoshop.
e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
It’s a connection thing. Something in the art that resonates in some special way with the reader. The way to achieve that, I think, is to give your illustrations 100% and always ask yourself how you could make it better.

e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of this story?
It started out as a story about dragons invading the princesses’ land and was based on the bird of my twin boys and how it affected their older sister. Then, I flipped it to be princesses invading the dragon’s land.
e: What was your path to publication?
For this book, I had a meeting set up with a few editors while I was visiting NY. One editor, Jeffrey Salane really liked the sketches and rough outline of the story. With my agent’s help, we wrote and revised (and revised again based on Jeff’s suggestions) Then, he moved publishing houses and took the story with him to see if Little Simon liked it. And, Luckily they did!

e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?
The joy of creation and brainstorming. I mean, seriously, isn’t it a great job where we can dream up new worlds and characters? Most challenging is the final bit of illustration revision. So many tweaks, so little time.

Courtney's Studio
e: Is there something in particular about this story you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
It’s about acceptance. Not just that Princesses can be Dragons but also that Dragons can be Princesses too. Everyone looks good in a tutu!

e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
I have a story out on sub that is near and dear to my heart that involves a special boat, a long sea voyage and finding your place in the world. (Everything crossed!) I would also love to illustrate other writer’s stories!

No comments: