Thursday, October 28, 2010

Interview with children's author/ illustrator Kit Grady

Kit Grady is a full-time children’s illustrator and author living in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. Her love for drawing animals, nature and children began very early. She continued her passion studying art at Virginia Commonwealth University and later studied under Caldecott winners Uri Shulevitz and Gale Haley. Kit has produced greeting cards and created a weekly children’s page for the local newspaper. Her first book, by Windswept House Publishers was followed by projects with The United Methodist Publishing House/Cokesbury, an educational publisher, Kaeden Books, Kicks Club Books, and the Collier Creative Group. She has illustrated several books for Guardian Angel Publishing. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Kit, best known for her bright colors and expressive animals, has several new projects due out this year, including her latest, A Necklace For Jiggsy.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Kit and learn more about her illustration process, inspiration and more...

Rainbow NightsTell us about your path to publication.
I have always loved to draw and play with words. I remember creating a fake newspaper and making up the stories and pictures when I was very young. After studying art in college, I moved on to greeting cards, newspaper work (designing a children’s activity page) and many private projects. After many workshops, classes and personal study, I published with Windswept House and Kaeden Books and illustration work for The United Methodist Publishing House/Cokesbury. I am now working on my eighth illustrated book for Guardian Angel Publishing. I have just released one, “A Necklace for Jiggsy,” which I both illustrated and wrote. I’m loving every minute of my writing and drawing life.

The Sister ExchangeTell us a little about your illustration process. (what medium do you use, where do you like to work)
My illustration process starts with a manuscript given to me by an editor. After I get my specs on size and page count, I break up the story, allowing for visual possibilities for each page and good text flow. I then take my sketch pad and work out much of my illustrations. I will scan these into my computer to work on color and cleaning up. I use Photoshop and a wacom tablet. I love working digital. I use a story board and often a dummy to make sure the pace works. I send these illustrations in as jpegs at 300 dpi via email to the editor.

What's been the most difficult book for you to illustrate so far and why?
Not one really stands out. Sometimes in the beginning of the project, I may have one that just doesn’t work and I must keep playing with it until it breaks through. That is such a wonderful feeling.

How long does it usually take you to complete illustrations for a picture book?
It depends. Because of the answer in the above question and other reasons, it varies. Sometimes a short simple one can be 2-3 months. Some can take up to a year.

A Necklace For JiggsyWhat was your inspiration for your new book, A Necklace For Jiggsy?
“A Necklace for Jiggsy “ is a story I played around with for many years. I worked on a simple black/white edition in a small chap type book. I was thrilled to be able to really expand on Jiggsy and have it published with Guardian Angel Publishing. I had a dog named Jiggsy and he did have the same personality. I think Jiggsy has a positive message to tell because you know sometimes it is hard to do the right thing.

You both write and illustrate. Do you find it harder to illustrate another author's words or do you find it more difficult to illustrate your own?
My own stories are much easier for me. When I do a story, I’m doing the art in my head as I write. Sometimes the pictures come before the words and write the story. When I get an author’s manuscript, it is sometimes difficult to know what they had in mind. I think it is important to work with your author and try to bring together the best of both visions.

To learn more about Kit Grady, please visit her official website.

5 comments:

  1. A great interview, thanks for sharing. I do envy Kit's artistic talent.
    Nissi Peters

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  2. I do, too, Nissi! She has some beautiful books!

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  3. I'm thrilled Kit illustrated "Bradybug." She told the story in such a beautiful fashion with her art. Congratulations on your new book, Kit! And thanks for the interview, Lori.

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  4. Until I did this interview, I didn't realize how many books Kit has illustrated! She has such an amazing talent!

    Congrats on Bradybug, Donna! With your words and Kit's illustrations, it's such a beautiful book!

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  5. Thanks for sharing the interview, Lori. Kit's illustrations are wonderful, and I hear so many great comments about the animals she illustrated for Animal Sound Mix-up being so colorful and full of personality and character. Keep up the terrific art work and writing, Kit!

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