What do you do?
I am an author and illustrator of Young Adult Fantasy and Children’s books. I am also a wife + mama bear to a toddler.
What does your work space look like? Where do you like to create?
My work space varies. I am a mother of a toddler so wherever and whenever I can squeeze in work time I take it. One of my favorite places to design and write is on this large farmhouse maple and oak table we have at our farm. The wood is worn with over a hundred years of Dory family use and there is a subtle creakiness to it when you press on it’s surface, which I love and find it soul soothing. I need space when I dive into my craft. I like to spread and organize things around the surface so I can see it all.
What role does the pencil play in your process?
A vital role. It’s a life tool, literally. From crafting novel story boards to illustrating children’s books to scratching down ideas throughout the day, the ‘pencil’ is very present. I finish all of my illustrations in ink but the beginning stages of the process is always done in pencil.
Why do you choose to work with pencils and, specifically, Blackwings?
As an artist a tool is an extension of yourself. It helps turn your thoughts into something tangible. So it is significant to me when a tool has a finesse design to it that almost limits the ‘distance’ between me and my work. I appreciate and love the design and lead quality of Blackwing pencils. I’ve had a pencil in hand sketching and illustrating since I was a little one. I grew up in my father’s art studio and you can say that my appreciation for high quality analog tools has grown as I have through the years. Pencils are my favorite tools. They are simple, forgiving and reliable. Its honestly a hard utensil to replace.
What other tools are essential to your process?
It seems I utilize it all. But the top essential tools for my creative process are my: computer, phone, moleskin notebooks, paint brushes, india ink, watercolors, and Pigma Graphic Pens.
How do you overcome ______ block? Writer’s block, artist’s block, etc.
To keep writing. Keep designing. Keep crafting.
Writer’s block is a mindset so challenge it, overcome it. Even if you look at your work, furrow your brow in annoyance with the product, crumple it up and toss it into the waste basket something something will break through. I have gotten rid of hundreds of thousands of words, but it took me to write all those words down to reach the end goal of a crafted novel. And if it all fails, coffee + yoga.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Clean your space.” I learned this from a Michelin star rated chef I once worked for years ago in Manhattan. And this simple advice is applicable to all work spaces. Whether you are crafting a divine dish or storyboarding a children’s book working in a clean, tidy space with all your tools visible has helped me with my efficiency of production.