Monday, February 6, 2012

Janee Trasler In Conversation

Janee Trasler
by Catherine Lee

Janee Trasler lives in Grapevine, Texas with her husband and two little pet Bucky and Max, while juggling a an artist's life, mixed with lots of deep solid rich colors and prints for illustrations. Her works have made it to publishers such as Simon and Schuster, Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Little Brown and Company just to name a few.

For more information on Janee Trasler go to her website and blog.

Here's a little Texan interview for your enjoyment for artist's that are passionate about reading the life of . . .

1.What is a day in an artist's life?
It all depends on the day and what projects I’m working on. If I’m on a tight deadline, it might be 48 hours long and include a lot of caffeine and cursing.

If I have a more leisurely deadline or am working on personal projects, I will spend a lot of time on the thinking and planning phase of a project and allow myself more room for experimentation (which sometimes puts me back on the 48 hour caffeine and cursing schedule by the end).

Most days will find me doing some brainstorming, some writing, some drawing, and a little procrastinating.

2. What medium do you us? You seem to be experimenting with new mediums, can you let us know a little more about that? 
Other than doodling, I’m 100% digital. I use mostly Painter, but also use Illustrator, Photoshop, and Flash at times. Most of the experimentation you see is me playing with new brushes, styles, or techniques within those applications.

I need that UNDO command.

3. I love the rich, definitive colors, the depth and quality of the work. How long does it take for you to do one illustration?
Thank you. I love color. Again, it’s hard to pinpoint how long I spend on one illustration. When I’m working on book projects, I work in an assembly-line fashion in order to keep consistency across the spreads. For instance, I will paint all the backgrounds, then all the skin or fur of the characters, then the clothing, then I work on the details.

If I’m working on a single piece, and consistency isn’t an issue, timing depends on the style, the technique and how much detail there is in the illustration.

4. You're agented with Andrea Brown Literary. How long have you been there? And is there any advice on aspiring artists on finding a rep in the industry? Did you have former education in art?
I have been with Jamie Weiss Chilton at Andrea Brown Literary for three years. She is fantastic, and we are on the same page about my career goals.

I was with a wonderful illustration rep before that. When my focus changed, and I wanted to concentrate more on my own books and projects, I felt it was a good choice for me to move to a literary agency from an illustration representative.

As a matter of fact, I have two posts on my blog about finding a rep/agent:

To Rep or Not to Rep
Another Milestone

I was in the Visual Communications program at a local community college. I got some very solid basics there. Much of my practical education came from working at an advertising agency. I am always taking some class or workshop though. I just finished an advanced layout class to brush off my rusty design skills. I enjoyed it immensely. And now, I am in an Actionscript class getting my geek on. I’ve also taken many writing classes and workshops.

Benny Bunny
5. What was one of your favorite works and why?
As with many illustrators, my latest is usually my favorite. I’m super psyched about my two newest books, Benny’s Chocolate Bunny (Scholastic/Cartwheel) and Caveman, A B.C. Story (Sterling) because, at heart, I’m a cartoonist, and both of these books afforded me the opportunity to stick close to that sensibility in humor and illustration style.

6. What is your favorite one liner if you have?
One of my favorite quotes is from Malcolm Forbes — "Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are."

7. How long have you been in the business? You have wonderful companies that work with. Must be nice.
I've been in commercial art a while, but I’ve been in children’s illustration and books since 2003. That feels like the beginning because that’s the moment I felt as if I was on the right path for me.

Yes, I have been very fortunate to work with some wonderful companies, editors, and art directors!

On behalf of The Pen & Ink Blogspot Management, I would like to thank Janee for this interview.


  1. Thank you. That was fascinating. Love the work.

  2. Janee--I love your work. It's so wonderful. I especially love the little monsters you created. And hooray for giving cute little Alfie a home!

    Catherine--Thanks for sharing another terrific illustrator with the Pen and Ink crowd! Great interview.

  3. I love all the illustrations! And a great post, for sure. I love learning more about the secret life of illustrators/artists :)

    Happy weekend!



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