Monday, December 9, 2013

Interview with Author/Illustrator
K.C. Snider and a Giveaway


By Susan J. Berger
Meet K.C. Snider author/illustrator of the wordless picture book Silence

I met K.C.  in July of 2009. I drove to Santa Maria to meet K.C. and fellow Guardian Angel Publishing author Marilee Crow at their book event at the Santa Barbara County Fair.  I fell in love with KC’s energy and enthusiasm and her book covers. I own several of the forty odd books K.C. illustrated for Guardian Angel Publishing.

We became friends and she introduced me to the wordless picture book, Chalk. It was obvious KC adored the book. Once I read it, so did I. We got into a discussion about the beauty of a story told only in pictures. While at a book signing in St Louis I showed K.C. another wordless picture book (neither of us can remember the title) and said, “You could do that. I bet it would be wonderful.  Why don’t you write one?”
KC turned to her friend and publisher, Lynda Burch and said "If I wrote one, would you publish it?" Lynda replied, "In a red hot minute. It’s taken three years because KC had lots of contracts for illustrations and she had to sandwich this book in.
http://www.amazon.com/Silence-Kc-Snider/dp/1616334371/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1386321873&sr=8-2&keywords=silence+by+kc+sniderSilence was published last month and WOW!
I instantly fell in love with the breathtaking artwork and the story possibilities on each page. I can’t wait to grab a child and let them tell me the story.
I asked KC if I could interview her for the blog. (You will find K.C. on Amazon as both KC and K.C. Snider so I thought I would use both spellings.)

Pen and Ink: When did you become an illustrator? 
K.C.:  I started doing it professionally in 2007.  I studied to become an illustrator at the Eugene School of Arts.

Pen and Ink: How did you learn your craft? 
K.C.:  I took 2 years in commercial art school.  After graduating, I taught Fine Arts for Lane and Linn-Benton Community colleges for 17 years.   I was a Western Fine Artist because illustrating was, and still is, a very difficult field to enter.  I won many fine arts awards and made a good living from selling my work.

Pen and Ink: Who discovered you? 
K.C.:  Mary Kelso, one of Guardian Angel Publishing’s authors, asked me to illustrate a children’s book for her.  We planned to self-publish that first book, The Christmas Angel, when Mary found out about Guardian Angel Publishing and submitted the book.  We were very pleased when it was accepted!  Guardian Angel Publishing was starting out, too, and liked my work.  Lynda Burch began making requests of me to illustrate books from other authors.

Pen and Ink: When you were a child what books influenced you the most? 
K.C.:  I loved the stories my Mom read to me from the Jack and Jill magazines that were written in series format.  There’s no particular book, just the stories from the magazine that caught my attention the most. 

Pen and Ink: You draw fantasy, reality and humor. What kind of things did you like to draw as a child? 
K.C.:  I loved to draw horses and people.  I would spend hours and hours drawing them.

 
 
  










Pen and Ink: The Silence illustrations are in a different style than many of your other illustrations. How do you decide what style you will use to illustrate a book? 
K.C.:  Lynda sends me the manuscript and we discuss it.  It depends on the story.   Some , like Stilts the Stork, would not be the same, would not match the rhythm and rhyme, and would not lend itself to anything other than a over-the-top comic characterization.
Silence, on the other hand, had to be very realistic, almost like a photograph to understand what golden mantels look like and what their real lives are all about.   

Pen and Ink: How long do you work each day? 
K.C.:  I usually spend anywhere from 8-15 hours a day, taking breaks now and then.  I often work until 2am in the morning if a book needs to be back to my publisher, Lynda, by a certain deadline.  I can usually illustrate about 7 children’s books a year at an average of from 10-17 illustrated pages per book.  Silence has 27 illustrations as well as several illustrations within an illustration.

Pen and Ink: What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate? 
K.C.:  I have music playing to soothe my soul, so it’s not rap or rock.

Pen and Ink: What gave you the idea for Silence? 
K.C.:  My publisher, Lynda Burch.  I wanted to do a wordless book and I didn’t have an idea on how to start.  Lynda had just been to Oregon to visit Crater Lake with me.  My daughter, Julie, worked for the National Parks Service for a time.  Among the three of us, we came up with this story.

Pen and Ink: I love the way some of the pages have inset drawings. Whose idea was that? 
K.C.:  That was my idea. I have done this before with other illustrated books and liked the number of ideas that can be accomplished with multiple pictures per page.

Pen and Ink: Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them? 
K.C.:  I am illustrating another book for Guardian Angel Publishing titled Angel Feathers by Carole Bloodworth.  It is another “realistic” style story.  There are 6 others waiting for illustrating in 2014. 

Pen and Ink: Would you share an interesting behind-the-scenes story about one of your illustrations? (Or a school visit?)
K.C.: We have been going into the local elementary schools’ fourth grade classes to give a presentation on how to illustrate and write a story. I usually go in tandem with author Kai Strand, also a Guardian Angel Publishing author, and we work together to help the children get started on their own works to enter into the 4th Grade Children’s Writing Contest in the Spring. This is put on by our local Central Oregon Writer’s Group, High Desert Society of the Arts, Deschutes County Library, and our local Rotary Club.

 
Pen and Ink: What well known illustrators do you admire most?  
K.C.: Norman Rockwell, I wanted to be as good as Norman Rockwell and I’m still striving for it.  I love his style and storytelling with his pictures.  All my fine arts work also tell a story in one picture.
Pen and Ink: Have you any advice for illustrators starting out. 
K.C.:  Don’t expect to get rich doing this.  Careers in illustrating are very difficult to enter, and the field is small with lots of competition.  If you are determined, grow your talent to be as versatile as possible both in media and styles.  I am an artist and I love what I do, so I don’t care about getting rich.  Fortunately, my husband encourages and agrees with me.

Pen and Ink: Is there anything else you would like to share with us? 
K.C.:  I’m doing an illustration show December 21st through the end of January at the Multnomah County Central Library in Portland, OR.  I will be there to sign books at the Reception on 12/21/2013.  This is a great book launch for Silence.

Thank you KC for doing this interview. You can visit K.C. at http://www.kcsniderart.com/
KC has graciously agreed to give us a copy of Silence for a contest. To enter, please leave your email address in the comment. It’s truly a beautiful book.

21 comments:

  1. Thanks for the interview. I love writing & have doodled forever. During high school I was in several art galleries around town. I am beginning to retry my drawing skills out & see of I can build on something I loved to do.
    traceymcox@yahoo.com

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  2. Hi Sue and K.C., Wow, is all I can say. I'm reviewing Silence, too, but this interview says it all. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you Penny :) you can ask something different.
      Sue had been wanting to do this interview for some time now, so
      she knew for a long time what she wanted to ask .
      KC:)

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  3. I'm glad K.C. kept on going and didn't give up about illustrating books for others, and now doing her own.

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    1. no Jan I'm not a quitter I would have stayed with fine art.As I said before illustrating books fell in my lap and I ran with it . And even better it happened to be with Guardian Angel . KC:0

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  4. Hi K.C.,
    This was a very interesting interview. I can't draw a straight line but I really admire artists. I have to admit that I've never heard of a silent picture book. I love this concept!

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    1. Deb there are a number of No word books . I titled my book Silent
      because the beauty of Crater Lake is so peaceful and Quite .
      Thank you for your kind comment on my illustrations .
      KC:)

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    2. Sorry I meant to say Silence not silent ;) that's what happens
      when you don't read what you have written before sending .
      KC:

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  5. Wow, great interview. I can't wait to review silence. It is on my list of books to review. Thanks for sharing this great interview.

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    1. Looking forward to your interview Nicole :)
      KC:)

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  6. This is a lovely interview. So glad you did it, and all best wishes, K.C.

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  7. Fascinating interview. I enjoyed getting to know KC even better. I have the honor of KC illustrating two of my books. Congrats. Warmly, Donna

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    1. Thank you Donna . It was my honor to have been able to illustrate your two books . KC:)

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  8. Terrific interview. What talents you both are. The whole concept of a wordless book boggles the mind---there's no end to where the story can be taken. Humbled to know you both.

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