About our illustrators
Kendra Spanjer divides her time between being "a writer who illustrates" and "an illustrator who writes." She and author Karla Oceanak are the brains behind the Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel Series. Her work for grown-ups includes copywriting and design, plus several incognito illustrations for adult beverages, t-shirts, posters, and various other vices. She has a picture book in the works and lots of ideas for paintings and print work on her Poco press—though they're all just ideas for now.
When she invents spare time for herself to fill, Kendra enjoys skiing, cycling, exploring, discovering new music, watching trains go by, decorating cupcakes with her sister, and making faces in the mirror. More at kendraspanjer.com.
Allie Ogg is the illustrator of Goodnight Brew.
When she's not working on illustrations, pottery, or art projects, she can be found exploring the foothills of Fort Collins, Colorado, by bicycle. Her favorite beer is Space Ghost IPA from Equinox Brewing.
To learn more about Allie, see her wonderful sculptures and pottery, or invite her to your school, library, or event, visit allieogg.com.
Launie Parry is the illustrator of our in-progress picture book The Five Thousand Friends of Veronica Veetch.
With years of experience in the printing industry, a fondness for all things paper, and a love of reading, designing books and sundries for Bailiwick is a perfect fit for Launie, our design director. She and her husband, George, have two daughters, one cat, and a golden retriever named Maisie who is known around the office for her sweet disposition and very bad manners.
Launie also has her own design company and is available for branding projects and book design at red-letter-creative.com.
Illustrator of our Year-by-Year series, Julie Rowan-Zoch reads, writes, and illustrates picture books. She has visited three continents, attempted to learn four languages, and has a 2-3-3-3-3 phalangeal formula in both of her hands and feet.
Originally from New York, she has lived a huge chunk of her life in Germany and now resides in Colorado. (And didn't even move here for the skiing!) She is really good at making leaf crowns, but her favorite medium is a pencil. To see more of her work or contact her about school visits or events, visit julierowanzoch.wordpress.com.
Tips for beginners
1. Draw. A lot
Learning to draw well is like any other skill. It's mostly the result of effort and usually takes thousands of hours of practice and study. Actively keep a sketchbook. Draw every day.
2. Master your craft.
While it's true that some illustrators seem to zoom from Step 1 to Step 5, most of us mortals first spend a lot of time honing our basic sketching skills—perspective, composition, shading, etc. We also learn how to use a variety of media, including computer software such as Illustrator.
3. Take commissions.
Even if creating random illustrations for your best friend's band or your neighbor's cookbook doesn't float your boat, these projects are fantastic exercises in meeting a client's needs professionally and on deadline. Also, continue to post some of your daily sketches together with your commissions and other work on your blog or website. The idea is that illustrators are constantly growing and displaying their portfolios.
4. Work with a mentor.
Find an illustrator whose work you admire and ask if she'll be your mentor. Think about what you might be able to offer her in return. Remember, you have to earn a mentor, which means you need to have spent some serious time on Steps 1 through 3 before approaching her.
5. Find your "style."
Your style is your "look." It's what allows us to pick up a picture book by Mo Willems, Loren Long, Sandra Boynton, Dr. Seuss, etc. and instantly know who the illustrator is without seeing the name on the front cover. This is the most advanced step, one that takes many illustrators years (decades!) to accomplish. Even experienced, "proven" illustrators often continue to experiment with and evolve their style.