Laura: With Wallace and Grace, it started with the characters. I worked hard to give them lots of personality. Animal characters are my favorite. There’s so much opportunity to play and push the limits with them. For the story, I like to sketch my first impressions in the margins on the first read through of the manuscript.
Laura: Palomino Blackwing pencils on Graphics 360 paper and painted in Clip Studio Pro and a little Photoshop. (Note from e: I love Palominos too!)
Laura: For me, the characters’ interactions and reactions define the heart in a piece. It’s my favorite part of the process, the part I like to push the most.
e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of this story?
Laura: Not really, but this project was a dream since I love illustrating animal characters and I fell in love with the story. I feel very lucky.
e: What was your path to publication?
Laura: My path has been long and convoluted. It started out with a bang with eight books, then I took ten years off when I had my boys. The road back has been much bumpier and grueling, but worth it. I’ve worked hard to update my style, improve my drawing skills, and to define what I want to say with my art. I enjoy self-promotion. I send out 4-5 postcards a year and email a smaller list regularly. Wallace and Grace came in the first day I was with an art rep. My editor for these books, Mary Kate Castellini with Bloomsbury, had my postcard, so I can honestly say postcards work.
e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?
Laura: To push through the sound of crickets (quiet times). There are so many periods of burnout and self doubt followed by excitement and joy. It’s definitely a roller coaster ride. My favorite part of being a creator is the community I’ve become a part of. I’ve ‘met’ so many great, supportive and creative people through this work. I have many close creator friends who I’ve never met in person.
e: Is there something in particular about this story you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
Laura: That Wallace and Grace are friends first and foremost and that curiosity leads to great things.
e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
Laura: I’m working on writing and illustrating my own stories. I love illustrating other writer’s stories and want to continue doing that, but to be able to create the whole project, to tell my own stories would be amazing.
e: Thanks Laura!