Although I am the Art Resource Coordinator for Candlewick Press, I call myself a treasure hunter because I am always searching & discovering new talent or new art that illustrators who are already published or seasoned. The illustrators we publish are certainly treasures, and we love showcasing their work.
I support the creative director along with the art directors and editors who are acquiring new texts that need visuals. That includes picture books, illustrated middle-grade novels, poetry collections, biographies and young adult novel covers. I keep a visual archive and also share incoming samples and submissions with the art and editorial departments.
Q: How and when did you start working at Candlewick Press?
I came to Candlewick in 1995 from Little, Brown and Company where I was a senior book designer. Candlewick was "the new light in publishing" and was much smaller; there were only 3 of us in the art department at that time. We were just beginning to originate Candlewick titles. I designed picture books, young adult novels and poetry collections.
Q: What is your work day like?
My day consists of researching on the web, contacting agents and illustrators about their work or sending a new text and making an initial offer for the project. I also facilitate a weekly meeting with editors and art directors to suggest ideas for new projects needing illustrators.
Q: Besides having some of the most gorgeously designed books in publishing, the Candlewick office is a really fun and well-designed workspace! Can we maybe, just maybe have a tour?
|Bigbear is always snuggling up to friends in the office.|
|Award winning books welcome visitor in our lobby.|
|We love to surround ourselves with art.|
|Jon Klassen’s prints are proudly exhibited in our gallery.|
|Everyone loves printing at Candlewick.|
Q: Do you have any career moments that you’re particularly fond of?
Meeting and working directly with the illustrators has been a joy. I’ve worked with some amazing ones including Marc Brown, Ed Emberley, Jane Dyer, Melissa Sweet, Scott Nash and Christine Davenier.
One interesting moment I remember was when I visited Melissa Sweet’s studio years ago in Maine, and as I walked through her kitchen I was stunned to see she had illustrated her kitchen cabinets ~ they were just enchanting.
I think a highlight of my career was finding and sharing Jon Klassen’s work when we were looking for an illustrator for House Held Up By Trees. That began quite a love affair for us all.
|House Held Up by Trees: written by Ted Kooser, illustrated by Jon Klassen.|
|Always such a treat when original art is delivered for an entire picture book. These color saturated pieces are Timothy Ering’s from The Almost Fearless Hamilton Squidlegger.|
Q: There’s a lot of talented folks out there! What’s your favorite way to discover new talent?
I find blogs are a gold mine. An illustrator not only shares process and things they love [or hate], but they usually share other artists’ work whether it be on their links page or just in a post. That has been an amazing source of discovery.
Q: Do you write and illustrate as well?
Over the years I’ve had ideas for picture books, but I only began to take time to write stories about 2 years ago. I met with a friend monthly to share and cheer each other on. I am excited to send my little babies out into the publishing world soon to see if they’ll fly. I now am much more empathetic with people who have shared their work online or through submissions. It’s certainly a vulnerable step into the unknown. It certainly is a step of faith.
Q: How do you get inspired?
Nature is my first inspiration ~ I always look up! The sky is an ever amazing palette of shadow, light and color. I also look down too… especially on the ground. I love textures and earthy gritty, not-so-perfect things that are worn or cracked or faded. I collect textiles and vintage objects that are rusted or discarded. Color and music are also amazing avenues of inspiration that I pursue, whether I gaze at a beautiful watercolor or I get lost in a voluminous cavern of sounds. Taking walks or sitting by moving water tends to energize and inspire me most.
Q: Any tips for picture book illustrators or authors looking to work with Candlewick Press?
Follow what you love. Soak up and surround yourself with things that bring you life. The more we can see that someone loves what they’re doing or is passionate about a certain subject, the more your work will be memorable and draw us in.
And, as a practical exercise, kids books need emotion, interaction with friends and the world, and the ability to carry a character through time and space from various perspectives and with varying degrees of emotion. So, just don’t show one rhino, show a rhino dancing or pouting or singing. This gives the editor and art director the information they need to feel confident to hire you for a project.
They need to see that you can create a memorable character that connects with the reader and you’re not just illustrating the words, but you are interpreting the story in such a way that you add to its meaning.
Follow Anne on Twitter: @childbookart
It’s such a special job you have, Anne, and I think I speak for every illustrator when I say, "thank you." There are so many great reminders here that I’m sure will inspire illustrators and writers alike. I also hope that everybody who reads this never forgets to look up, down, and all around!
Thank you, as well, for the tour around your super fun office space!
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m very much looking forward to seeing Anne’s stories soaring around the kidlitosphere!!