Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Q&A with Julie Rowan-Zoch




Julie Rowan-Zoch is the illustrator of the new children's picture book Not All Sheep Are Boring!, written by Bobby Moynihan. Her other books include I'm a Hare, So There!.



Q: What inspired your illustrations for Not All Sheep Are Boring!?


A: During the first read of the text I was envisioning the fun I would have drawing these very silly and very humanized sheep!


I love diving into visual research and probably went down too many rabbit holes looking for all different breeds of sheep. One sheep's coloring is that of Beatrix Potter's favorite breed. I also chatted with a sheep-owner about sheep's teeth!


I like absolute quiet while writing, but I like the sound of a familiar film in the background while working on illustrations. During revision work from the initial sketches I happened to be revisiting British period dramas and was inspired to create a few pastoral landscapes in the backgrounds. 


Q: How did you develop your artistic style?


A: After a portfolio consultation with the very generous and very skilled Michael Garland, I took a sharp turn to digital illustration and haven't looked back. My son taught me how to use the note-taking app on my first tablet (I didn't even use a smart phone till recently!).


After that it was all trial and error, mainly keeping it simple and exploring what I could do with just one "brush," for example. My work definitely benefited from drawing as a daily ritual.


Q: What first intrigued you about creating children's picture books?


A: As I am sure most agree, the artistic marriage of words and pictures comes together uniquely, almost magically, in a picture book. At this point I'd like to note how rewarding I find the collaborative process, first with critique partners then editors and art directors.  


Q: What do you hope kids take away from Not All Sheep Are Boring!?


A: I hope it will make them laugh, that they chose their own favorite sheep, feel inspired to draw their own, and value silliness into adulthood! Not asking too much, eh?


Q: What are you working on now?


A: A manuscript I really love is out on sub at the moment - fingers crossed!


Q: Anything else we should know? 


A: When I first began my publishing journey, I could only envision illustrating my own stories, but have found so much joy in illustrating other people's manuscripts. That joy is also to be found in critiquing - it's like a private preview, an AIC: Advanced Illustrator's Copy! 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

1 comment:

  1. I have a favorite sheep in this book for sure - it's dill-lightful!