e: What is your creative process, can you walk us through it?
Debbie: For picture books I am writing as well as illustrating, I start with an idea notebook. I have a bunch:
Here’s a sample from one of my creative notebooks:
Once I think I’m happy with my basic thumbnail sketches, then I create full-size sketches and start working on those and then send them to my art director (in the case of Sea Monkey & Bob, my art director was the awesome Laurent Linn). When I get feedback from my art director, I’ll work on the next round of sketches. At some point, I’ll get the go-ahead to move to final art.
e: What is your medium?
Debbie: I work with different types of media, depending on the project. For most of my book projects, I have worked digitally. When I work digitally, I use an Intuos Wacom tablet and pen with Photoshop:
This past year, I’ve become obsessed with fountain pens and fountain pen ink:
Debbie: I think that Heart Art makes a reader feel an emotional connection with something in the illustration and (ideally) helps them understand themselves and their place in the world a bit better.
e: What is your favourite or most challenging part of being a creator?
My favourite part:
When the rest of the world falls away as you lose yourself in the act of creating.
My least favourite part:
When I find myself stressing about things in the business that are mostly out of my control, and that interferes will my ability to create. I once heard Shaun Tan give a talk at an SCBWI conference about how useful it was for children’s book writers and illustrators to create a “bubble of delusion” in which they could feel safe to create, a mental space in which they felt positive about themselves and their work and knew they COULD do great work.
e: Is there something in particular about this story you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
Debbie: I have learned that no matter how busy you are, no matter what you’re working on, it’s so important to always make time to PLAY.
e: What are you working on next?
Debbie: Right now I’m:
- Illustrating I’M SAD, a story written by Michael Ian Black that is the sequel to I’M BORED.
- Working on my next solo picture book project idea.
- Working on a new middle-grade novel.
Thank you for having me on your blog!
e: Thanks for stopping by!
I love this article! Especially the photographs.
Thanks, arhuel! And thanks to Elizabeth for letting me visit her blog. :-)
My great pleasure Debbie!
Debbie, I love EVERYthing about you and your work and do hope we actually meet face-to-face someday :) What an EXcellent interview with so much terrific info (SO unlike you, Debbie! ;) )
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