Eeek! Guess what?
I got to interview the beautiful woman who did the illustrations for my books: Of Mice and Fairies and Of Bullfrogs and Snapdragons. I could talk about her forever, but she talked a lot about herself, so I’ll let you hear it from her.
What’s it like working for an author? (Specifically . . . me.)
It’s like making Christmas presents for people, but with more serious deadlines. It’s definitely more stressful because you can get it wrong. The lead up to showing them the illustrations is fun and exciting, but then they might not like everything you do. You’re essentially taking the world in their head and putting it onto paper, without being able to see what exactly is in their head in the first place. It’s tricky to capture the magic.
What were you the most nervous about when you started this job?
Probably the deadlines. I had a lot to do in a very short amount of time. Reading the book took a while, then rereading it over and over again to choose which illustrations I wanted to do and where to put them. Finding something in each chapter to represent the feel of it was really tricky because there wasn’t always a physical object that would fit the feel and the style.
What was the most difficult character to draw in the books?
Probably Lumpkin, because he was one of the ones I did with a full face and figure. I’ve seen so many other illustrations in books where they’ve done too much detail and left no room for imagination. I really tried to avoid that with all of the illustrations I did for these books. I chose to do mostly animals or an indirect view of the characters so as to leave more room for imagination.
Which character do you relate to the most in ‘Of Bullfrogs and Snapdragons’?
Oh, that would definitely be Lester Winklestep. Hedgehogs are very homey individuals. They like peace and quiet, and they are very laid-back. But, they are also curious and interested in life, despite doing life in a very relaxed way. Also, I just want to be a hedgehog. They are the cutest.
Which character do you most want as a companion?
Oh, Eve. She’s super spunky and tons of fun and I feel like she would bring a lot of energy to whatever environment she was in. Also, she would fit in my pockets. Which I find enjoyable. She would be quite easy to carry around. And she’s not as sassy and obnoxious as Belinda. (But don’t tell her I said that.)
What other work do you do outside of illustrating my books? Brag on yourself a little.
I am a pyrography artist. For people who don’t know, pyrography is defined as ‘writing with fire’, which I find super cool. I mostly do animal portraits. I’ve been commissioned to do people’s pets before, but my more enjoyable projects are of more exotic animals—tigers and moose and ducks because ducks are the best animals in the world. I am obsessed with detail. I cannot do sketches, because I do it way too detailed and it ends up not being a sketch any longer.
What made you want to be an artist?
I first started liking the idea of doing artwork when I was probably about six. One of my older sisters would draw horses for me to color, and she inspired me to start drawing animals of my own. But my career really began when I started creating board games with my brother. Together, we would draw fantasy animals and name them and create worlds for them. I still have those animals. They had weird names.
Where can people find other drawings you’ve done?
In Wayne Thomas Batson’s book, The Sword in Stars, for one. The design for the Stormgarden coat of arms was done by me. Also, my pyrography work can be found in my Etsy shop, ENoelBurnings. And I have plenty of pictures on my Instagram. I also post progress shots, because I love progress shots.
And, last and more importantly, because I personally want to know . . . if you owned an elephant, where would you keep it?
Probably in my library. Sitting on an elephant while reading would open up a lot of space for imagination. That would be grand. Also, my library is going to be huge, so there will be plenty of room. A library is the most important room in the house, so if you had something as special as an elephant, that would be the place to keep it.