Posted in Illustrators, Meet the authors

Author/Illustrator: Lori Richmond


Website/social media
Twitter: @loririchmond
Instagram: @loririchmonddraws

When you were my age, did you like to read?

Yes! I used to stay up late every night and devour the Nancy Drew mystery stories.

What was your favorite story?

My number one favorite was THE CLUE IN THE OLD STAGECOACH. I know what the cover looks like, and I probably read it 100 times. But now I can’t remember the storyline!

How do you get your ideas?

Both of my author-illustrated titles, PAX AND BLUE and BUNNY’S STAYCATION (coming in 2018), came from real life things that were happening in my family or with my children. There is so much inspiration in our everyday surroundings. The most important thing about making books is being a good observer and paying close attention to the world around you. Ideas are everywhere!


Is it hard to write a book?
Since I consider myself an illustrator first, it is very hard for me to write and I have to go through many, many drafts. I’m good at thinking of ideas, but turning them into a whole story is something else. It can be frustrating, but all the do-overs ALWAYS make the book come out better in the end. It’s really important to keep at it and keep trying, especially if you really believe in your story.

As an illustrator, how do you get matched with an author?
An author’s manuscript is received by the editor, who works at the publishing house. The editor then meets with the art director and they go through illustrator portfolios and websites to find an artist they think will be a good fit for that story. The editor sends the manuscript to the artist for review. If the artist likes the story and is available to do the work, it’s great news!

Do you have a favorite among the books you have written/illustrated?

That is so hard for me to choose. I love PAX AND BLUE because it is my first book, but I also love BUNNY’S STAYCATION because it addresses an issue that so many modern families face — a parent who has to travel for work and leave their child at home. I hope my book helps little bunnies everywhere with that tough situation!
How many books do you work on at one time?
I have 3 books coming out in 2018, so the past few months were a little tough for me with a lot of work to do. I prefer to only work on one book at a time, but sometimes schedules overlap and I have to get all the work done anyway. It’s a good thing the work is so much fun!

What author do you really like right now?

I am really obsessed with Jon Agee’s book LIFE ON MARS. I love it so, so much. I think it is a perfect book.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?
Are you already writing stores? Well, then, you’re already an author. Keep writing. Keep
drawing. Keep dancing. Keep singing. Keep creating. Don’t lose the joy you find in your art, you’ll carry it with you all the way to being a grown-up.

Annoying Little Brother question: how excited are you to be working with Tim Kubart? How did you get matched with him?
Haha! That is not annoying at all. I am VERY excited to be working with Tim! I haven’t met him yet but I can’t wait to! Our editor Nancy Inteli at Harper Collins thought my art style would be a nice fit forTim’s story. I read it and loved it, and the rest is history. Look for our book, OOPSIE-DO, next spring!



Posted in Illustrators, Meet the authors

Meet the author/illustrator: Matthew Cordell


Website/social media:
Twitter: @cordellmatthew

Tell me a little about yourself: I was born and raised in and around the small-to-medium-sized town of Greenville, South Carolina. At the age of 24, I moved to Chicago and have lived here and in the suburbs ever since. I’m married to young adult author, Julie Halpern, and we have two wonderful children, Romy and Dean, and a crazy cat named Norbert.

How long have you been illustrating books? The very, very first book I was hired to illustrate was a middle grade novel titled The Gorillas of Gill Park (written by Amy Gordon). That book came out way back in 2003. Shortly after, the first picture book I illustrated, Toby and the Snowflakes (written by none other than my wife, Julie Halpern), was released in 2004.

How did you become a book illustrator? As long as I can remember, I’ve loved to draw. I always looked forward to and thrived in my art classes throughout elementary, middle, and high school. I ended up studying art in college, learning all I could about all different ways to make pictures. Once I graduated college, I tried a few different ways to make a living at art, and lucked into children’s books. (When I met my wife, she was an elementary school librarian.) I loved illustrating children’s books above anything else I’d ever done in art! I love the people I work with, and I love the entire process of making books. All the way from the scribbles and sketches, to the planning out of pages, to the creation of the final art, and all the way to the end where I finally get to hold a finished book in my hands. And I love knowing that these books will land in the hands of the best audience in the world: kids.
How do authors pick their illustrators? One would think that authors choose the illustrators of their books and that authors and illustrators work together on the story and pictures until the book is finished. But believe it or not, this is not how it happens! When the author and illustrator are not the same person (when you have one person who writes the story and another person who makes the pictures), usually the story has been written and finished first and has been accepted by a publisher to begin making it into a book. Then the folks at the publisher (an editor or art director or both) will decide what illustrator they think would best fit the story. An illustrator is hired to make the pictures for the book and the author is typically not involved at all in the making of the illustrations. Even though, in most cases, I do not work directly with the authors of books I’m illustrating, I always enjoy meeting them on social media or better yet in person, whenever possible!

How do you know how to illustrate an author’s story? That’s an interesting question with a kind of complicated answer… For the most part, when I’m hired to illustrate someone else’s story, what I choose to do is completely up to me. Sometimes there are some notes about certain things or certain parts of the text, but I have to figure out much or most of it all by my lonesome. I always start by creating sketches of how the main characters will look. I share those with the publisher and they sometimes share with the author. Some changes may need to be made here and there, but once those character looks are finished, I start sketching the pages. It’s a lot of problem solving. Trying to figure out backgrounds for things and colors and facial expressions, and so on. So many details that have to be figured out. But it’s a lot of fun. Sort of like solving a puzzle or something like that.

Do you have a favorite book you have illustrated? I love all of my books and all of the authors of the books I’ve illustrated for all of their many different qualities. But I’m going to give an incredibly selfish answer and say that my favorite books to illustrate are the ones I’ve written! It’s not that often that I get to write and illustrate my own books—and be in complete control. [insert evil laugh] I always have considered, and maybe always will consider myself an illustrator. Occasionally, I am bequeathed a good story idea by the universe that is deemed publishable by the… publisher. Generally speaking, my favorite book is always my newest one, so in this case that book is WOLF IN THE SNOW.

Do you illustrate by hand or by computer? I use the computer for some things, but generally speaking, I illustrate using pens and brushes and paper. My art is drawn with old-fashioned pen and ink (very much like when folks used to write with a feather dipped in ink) and color is painted with watercolor. I know my way around the computer a bit, but I do not use it completely to make my artwork. Nowadays, though, one could make illustrations for a book without touching a single piece of paper! But I like paper way too much to ever do that.

Posted in Comics, Illustrators

Meet Nneka Myers

Website/social media:; Twitter: @kiinopia; Instagram: @kinopia

Tell me a little about yourself: I am a character designer and visual development artist working in Toronto, Ontario, Canada! Over the past two years, I have worked for numerous clients in the Animation, Comic and Media industry including BOOM, IDW, Dark horse, Nelvana and Facebook.

How long have you been drawing? I have been drawing ever since kindergarten but I didn’t really take it seriously as a career until Grade 11!

How did you get into comics? It was an unexpected opportunity about two years ago – I still consider myself new in the comic industry since I generally do guest strips but my first freelance offer was for Garfield with BOOM and it has been constant ever since! I still feel I have a lot to learn about comics but I am so happy to share my art through this medium.

What is your favorite comic you have worked on? So far my most favourite comic I have worked on has been Gumball! It was the most liberal series I worked on to date in which I had 100% control on the story and art style.

What are some all-ages comics you suggest? Gumball!!! It’s so funny for all ages and the characters are so diverse and enjoyable 🙂

(Bridget note: Look at her work below! You can meet Nneka at ComiqueCon this weekend)

Posted in Illustrators, Meet the authors

Author/Illustrator: Timothy Young

I reviewed Timothy Young’s The Angry Little Puffin a few weeks ago. I even recommended it to Guy Raz and his family! Now, Timothy answers my questions about being an author and an illustrator.

Website/social media:

Tell me a little about yourself: Before I started writing and illustrating books, I had a long, fun career doing all kinds of cool stuff. I’ve been a toy designer and sculptor, I’ve worked in animation on shows like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and Doug and I even got to work for one of my heroes, Jim Henson! Now I get to visit schools where I read my books, draw pictures with, and talk about all that cool stuff to students all over the country.

How long have you been writing & illustrating books?  I started writing about 10 years ago. My first book, I’m Looking For A Monster!, was published in 2008. My newest book, Do Not Open The Box! came out this year.

How did you become a book author/illustrator? I’ve been thinking about creating children’s books for a long time. I’ve been illustrating things for a long time, since I was in college as an illustration major. I had ideas for books but I didn’t think I could write them. I had a writing assignment for a job, writing limericks for a line of toys. It made me realize I might be a writer so I started writing my stories.

When you were my age, did you read a lot? What was your favorite book? I did read a lot as a kid. I loved picture books, chapter books and science fiction. My favorite picture book was The Ice-Cream Cone Coot by Arnold Lobel.

How do you come up with your story ideas? They seem to pop out of my heads at strange moments. Sometimes a memory from my childhood will appear, other times I’ll just be in the middle of doing something and suddenly a story starts developing in my head. As an illustrator, sometimes I see a picture and expand a story around it. I have even written books while on long drives. Luckily I have a good memory and can write them down when I get home.

Do you have a favorite book you have written/illustrated? It’s hard for an author to pick a favorite books, its like they’re my children and I could never choose between them. I do have to say that I Hate Picture Books! has gotten the most attention.

Do you illustrate by hand or by computer? Both! I start out with pencil drawings and then I scan those into my computer and do all of the painting and rendering, usually in Photoshop.

Who are some of your favorite authors/illustrators? Of the classics I love Dr Seuss, Arnold Lobel and PD Eastman but there are some great authors and illustrators putting out books every month. I feel like we’re in a new Golden Age of picture books. I think Dan Santat’s Beekle is one of the most wonderful books of all time. (Bridget note: I agree. I really like Beekle too. His book “Are we there yet” is funny and has QR codes in it.)

(Bridget note 2:The newest book Timothy illustrated comes out tomorrow. It is called “Just One Thing” and my interview with the author Nancy Viau is on Wednesday I hope you come back to learn about her. )