First, a bit about Rebecca:
I am a children's book writer/illustrator with Beau Coup Publishing and a full time elementary school teacher. I live in West Virginia with my husband and two cats who play an important role in my books.
Why did you pick to write books for children?
I've always loved to draw and paint and with children's books. I get to illustrate my own books which is something I've always wanted to be able to accomplish.
I never thought I would ever have a children's book out in the world. I wrote my first book for a contest but never won. A couple years later, I met an author who was looking into opening up her own publishing company and was looking for other authors. She and I talked, and I showed her my work and before I knew it, I had a publishing contract. It was just a freak time where I was in the right place at the right time.
Which medium do you prefer to work with: pen, pencil, chalk, pastel, oil, and why?
I love to use a combination of all different types of mediums when I create a drawing. I always use pencil to sketch out my drawing and then add a mixture of acrylic, chalk and oil pastels. I love acrylics because they easily blend together. Chalk and pastels allow to me add different shading to my image and the pastels are easily blended in. My illustrations however are created all digitally. I have a drawing tablet and I use a drawing program called Corel Painter X3. I still prefer to use acrylic, pastels and chalk but I love adding watercolor and using all the tools that are available.
What types of books do you like to read?
Romantic Suspense and Contemporary Romance are my two favorite genres, but while working at Beau Coup, I've been introduced to so many wonderful authors and their writing talents. So now I can add Fantasy Adventure, Science Fiction, and Paranormal Romance to my list.
When you are not writing/illustrating, what do you like to do?
I love to draw and paint any chance I get. When I get time, I really want to learn some new techniques and branch out to new mediums and tools. I love music and enjoy singing right along with the artist, although I don't think my cats like me singing as much as I do. I am an avid reader and read many different genres. My husband and I enjoy being outdoors any chance we get.
Explain for readers the importance of collaboration between authors and illustrators.
I have illustrated three of my own books, and currently I'm working on my very first illustrating job with another author. Collaboration is so important because when the author wrote this book, they may have a specific way it looked in their minds which could be totally different from the image I get when I read it. It's important to try to get the images to represent what the author wanted and, if there is another way, then a decision can be made later about which way looks best.
How important is it for illustrators to read the manuscript first?
For me, I wouldn't be able to create the images without reading the manuscript first. In fact, I go back throughout the story several times when creating the illustrations. It's important to match the image to represent what is going on in that story to help make it come to life.
Once you & the author have decided on how the illustration should look, describe the creation process of one illustration.
I will often create three or more drawings for one illustration before I choose the one I like the best. I find myself adding things or changing colors, backgrounds, etc. Then I will send them to the author or friends of mine who I trust to give me their feedback.
Tell us about World of Color & Imagination Destination, the illustrations you've shared, & how the stories came to be.
For Imagination Destination, I want to inspire my readers to want to get up, go outside, and use their imagination to create their very own world. The possibilities are endless as to where they could go.
Have you written/illustrated other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.
Bullies? No Worries! was just released in May 2015. Currently, I'm working on the illustrations for another author's children book which is coming along nicely.
Besides book illustrations, what other types of art do you create?
I enjoy painting on slate rock. I've also been getting into canvas lately. However, I don't have a lot of extra free time to paint as much as I would like to. I would love to take an art class and experiment with different paints and techniques.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue a career in illustrating books?
I am new to this part of my life. I'm learning as I go, but I've been told by many that joining an organization such as the SCBWB (Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators) can be a very beneficial and worth the money. I plan on joining this year. Also, if this is something you truly love doing, then don't give up even when things are not working out like you hoped. If you are able to get your artwork out in the world and are proud of what you accomplished, that's all that matters.
What advice do you have for other authors?
If it is something you really want to do, then never give up. Don't listen to yourself and give up when things look down. Don't listen to the ones who say it's not worth your time. If you have a story to tell, then tell it. If you're happy with it, that's all that matters.
Anything else you want readers to know?
I hope you find my stories fun, silly, entertaining but yet with a great message. I feel privileged to have been given the chance to share my stories with you. I am so very grateful for you, the reader, because it's you that helps inspire me to keep writing and illustrating.
Where can readers find you and your books?
Amazon Author page
They can be found at Amazon.com World of Color is an interactive e-book and will be available in paperback soon. Imagination Destination can be found in both e-book and paperback formats.