Downtime with Lorraine
Lorraine Dey is an illustrator and author of children’s picture books, focusing on the joy of children’s art through the expressive faces and movements of her engaging characters. She uses the latest software and design technology to create visually vibrant and whimsical images. Lorraine has illustrated several books for Raven Tree Press, Rockport Publishers, Rodale Press, and Simon & Schuster. Her book, The Rain Forest Party has won a silver “Mom’s Choice Award”, honoring excellence in family-friendly media, products and services, as well as a Gold “Gelett Burgess Award” This award is presented annually to family-friendly books that inspire imagination and creativity. New Jersey Illustrator Coordinator Karen Romagna catches up with Lorraine to find out more about what makes her tick…
Karen Romagna: Congratulations on receiving the 2013 Gelett Burgess Children's Book Award AND the Mom's Choice Award. Can you tell us a little more about them and the book?
Lorraine Dey: I am so proud to have received two awards for my book, The Rain Forest Party. The silver Mom's Choice award in 2012, and a gold Gelett Burgess Children's Book Award in 2013. My publisher entered the book into the competitions. It was a total surprise when my publisher, Raven Tree Press, sent the email notice that I had won. I started this book with the main character…an armadillo. I wanted to choose a more unique character than what was already out there. I started thinking about what armadillos are known for, and what specific traits they might have. The story developed from there.
KR: Do you have any new books in the works?
LD: Yes, I am working on a few books for other authors. I am doing the illustrations. I also have another book of my own that is almost finished but I haven't been able to get back to it yet. It is currently called My Cat wears Blue as a working title. I am hoping to finalize that one this year.
KR: Why do you want to be a children's illustrator?
LD: I enjoy this work more than any of the other various illustration jobs I have had throughout my career. Creating engaging and whimsical illustrations for children’s picture books has allowed me the most creative freedom and the most enjoyable experience.
KR: Can you explain your illustration process and tell us a little bit about your medium?
LD: My illustrations are always planned out ahead in pencil sketches, working out all character development and page flow layouts first. Once approved by author or editor, I scan the sketches into digital images to then paint and finalize. I work by painting directly onscreen with a Wacom Cintiq 2400HD in Adobe Photoshop. I also have a line-art vector style that I create in Adobe Illustrator.
KR: What inspires you?
LD: Nature, animals, natural and unique lighting situations in life and in art, sketching and painting in nature. I love seeing pencil character sketches and scenes drawn by amazingly talented animation artists.
KR: When life gets in the way, what helps you push that "restart" button?
LD: Deadlines help a lot! It also helps me if I get up from the computer and go for a bike ride or walk outside. Then I come back refreshed and ready to continue.
KR: What advice can you give an illustrator new to our field?
LD: I think it is important to do the type of artwork that feels the most exciting for you. Build a portfolio of that artwork and with time and quality work it will attract the right type of jobs that you will be excited about doing. And…practice, practice, practice!
For more about Lorraine, check out these links:
COMING UP, FEB/MAR 2014: Susan Brand
Pop back on the last Wednesday of next month for an interview with NJ SCBWI Illustrator Susan—the designer of our chapter logo!