For writers and authors, illustrators are such an important part of the book creation process. We’ve seen countless “author interviews” as of late so I thought it was high-time we did a “illustrator interview” and I could think of no one better than my amazing friend, Jenny Maroney.
What inspired you to be an author/illustrator?
Jenny: I have wanted to be a writer/illustrator since I could read. I was fascinated instantly with the entire process of storytelling — how each page, word and image led the reader into the next part of the story exactly how the storyteller wanted it to go. The entire Wizard of Oz series by L. Frank Baum completely captivated me early on. It made me keenly aware that more than anything I wanted to create a wonderland like that where my readers will close their eyes and wish they could be transported. In a way, that is how I began drawing as well. I would draw a picture and as I drew I would weave a story to go along with it. My mother would buy me reams of typing paper so I would have something to draw on!
My first illustrated children’s book is “Best Friends: The Adventures of Touga and Dazzle.” I was contacted by the author who was already planning on self-publishing. After the initial meeting, I submitted preliminary character sketches to her and she loved them. I was absolutely stunned! From that point, I simply sat down and ‘drew’ the story, in sequence.
What are the biggest challenges of being an author/illustrator?
Jenny: I think the biggest challenge to any creative professional is maintaining your passion and feeling of Worth. I spell that with a capital W because we tend to wrap our worth up in we, world, want, and winning, so when we have periods of rejection and inevitable blocks, it is essential that we can maintain our core purpose completely separate from those outside influences.
Also, as an illustrator, I find it a daily challenge to stay true to my own voice. I am influenced by so many things and it is hard to maintain an unaffected style. For example, if I have been admiring another illustrator’s work, it is almost a given that the first few doodles and sketches I begin that day will mirror their work. I do not intend this, but I do believe it is simply how I process what I see and study. After puttering around with those ideas for a few pages, I am able to move back into my own style.
What is your creative/writing process?
Jenny: I doodle. Really, I know how simple that sounds, but I begin with a doodle, and get all my ideas out on paper (or iPad page) and then expand from there. I also do a lot of visual art journaling which combines writing, doodling and collage.
If you could give any advice to new authors/illustrators what would it be?
Jenny: Advice? Hmmmm, I consider myself new at this as well! The best advice I have gotten is to just keep going. And NEVER feel bad about a rejection letter or email. The #1 reason why you shouldn’t; they took the time to respond to you! If they had truly abhorred your work, you would not have heard a thing from them! 🙂
Bottom line; Believe in yourself and others will to.
**If you’d like to purchase Jenny’s beautiful soft-cover book Best Friends! The Adventures of Touga and Dazzle by Deanna Christensen ($15 plus shipping) connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny Maroney offers graphic design and illustration services, backed by 16 years of experience. She is an expert in corporate and business to business design and have created numerous custom art works on canvas, handmade journals, hand-painted glassware and many other creative pieces for individuals and large companies. She is also a Swirly-doodler, Bookmaker, Illustrator, Graphic Designer, and uber-proud person of her dog Odie the Welsh Corgi!