Children’s book illustrator Christine Karron talks about getting her start and creating the business of her dreams.
ABI: You’ve illustrated a number of children’s books. How did you get started?
CK: I have drawn and painted my whole life. I have done illustrations for magazines and publishers already some years ago in Germany. Then after taking time to raise my children, moving to Canada and learning English, I started all over again and illustrated my first children’s book in 2013. A business partner of the author saw my work online and this way I got to illustrate my first children’s book “Buffalo Knees”.
After that, I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Through the society, two publishers liked my artwork and contacted me to illustrate even more children’s books and book covers. At the moment I am working on my 4th children’s book, and I hope there will be many more.
ABI: Tell us about the process of working on books with authors and publishers.
CK: Usually the publisher contacts me with a new manuscript. While I read the story I have already images in my mind, a visual story for the book. After that I talk to the author and often s/he has also some wonderful ideas to combine with my ideas. At this point I also start to work on sketches and the characters of the story.
Then I will work out a story board, to see the layout of the book pages and to have an idea of how the book pages work with each other and the text. We will discuss the story board with the publisher and author until all illustrations work perfectly with the story. After this I will illustrate each page from a pencil drawing to the final colorful illustration. Through all this process, for me it’s very important to add details to the illustrations which will support the text and even when they are not described in the story they will add visual enchantment to it.
The most pleasant part of illustrating children’s books for me is to work out the final illustrations with adding color with paint and pencils into the last details until everything comes to life. And of course the best part is to see children enjoying the finished book!
ABI: What are your plans for the future?
CK: I hope to illustrate more books in the future and maybe one day even write a story and illustrate a children’s book all by myself. I am already working on few ideas.
ABI: What advice would you give to other artists who are interested in illustrating children’s books?
CK: Work on your best portfolio. Follow other illustrators who inspire you; you can learn a lot from them. Read children’s books as much as you can and don’t forget to draw and sketch every day! Join the Society of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators to get professional and get your work out there! Don’t forget to put your name on your images, so people who love your work can find you.