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SOLSC Meets Picture Book Illustrators

When I received the registration form for the KSRA Conference, I did something I don’t usually do. I signed up for the Author Tea. I figured I might meet some interesting people and have a nice afternoon snack. (After all, there’d probably be chocolate there since the KSRA Conference is held in Hershey, PA.)
The authors present at the Author Tea came from all parts of Pennsylvania, and from points beyond, such as Massachusetts and even Alaska! As always, learning about the work children’s book authors do was interesting to learn about.

In addition to meeting eating a lot of chocolate and chatting with a bunch of authors, I had a rare opportunity to chat with two illustrators. Lisa Papp and Robert Papp, a husband and wife who are illustrators, were great fun to talk to. While I’ve met a bunch of authors in the past few years, I haven’t met a single illustrator, so I started asking them all of the questions I’ve had on my mind about illustrating for picture books, an art I truly admire. Lisa and Robert work in different medium, watercolor and oil paint, respectively. While they each have unique styles, they both answered a bunch of questions I had about illustration.

Here are just a few of their answers to some of the questions I posed:

Q. How long does it take for you to illustrate a book?
A. About a year. First, sketches have to be submitted to the art department of a publishing house. That’s often the smallest amount of time within that year. Then, once the sketches are approved, the painting work begins.

Q. Do the authors you work with have any of the design aspects of the book?
A. No. Most publishing houses keep authors and illustrators separate.

Q. Who decides where on the page the text goes?
A. Mostly it’s the illustrator’s decision. Usually the text gets laid over a plain part of the illustration. However, the art director might go back and forth with an illustrator about the placement of the text on a page.

Q.  How large are your paintings?

A. They’re often double the size of the illustration that’s on the page.  (To that end, both Lisa and Robert often take photos of people, dressed up in the “costumes” they want the characters in the book to wear, and then paint off of the pictures.)


NOTE: I usually post my Slice of Life Stories on my other blog, but since this was related to a conference I’m attending, and plan to blog about more in the days to come, I figured I’d post it here on TWT.


slice of life

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

2 thoughts on “SOLSC Meets Picture Book Illustrators Leave a comment

  1. I have a friend who has done some illustrations for children’s books and it is an amazing process. I am hoping to have her visit our class this year when they are making books.


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