WILLOW DAWSON: I am a cartoonist or a graphic novelist, which means I am often both the author and the illustrator. I think one of the most interesting things in comics is actually the interaction between the words and images on the page: how they combine to create a single message. The words alone don't make any sense without the pictures and the pictures need the words to complete the story. This level of interdependence is not found in other kinds of books like novels and picture books.
BRIAN DEINES: The beauty of doing picture book illustration for me is the process of developing images that fall between the written lines of the story. Working with the moment about to happen (in some cases just past) and not exactly what is being described in the text. When done correctly the images build on the text and present a stronger more illuminated end product. The text is a beautiful story on its own as are the illustrations, but together the synergy of the two creates a more powerful whole.
DIEGO HERRERA (YAYO): Words are tools to communicate and to inspire the reader or the listener. Illustrations have their own way to make the imagination work, to evoke feelings and thoughts, places and characters. As an illustrator I interpret the text, hoping that my images enrich the story. Readers use the images and words to make their own interpretations, their unique total story experience.
KAREN PATKAU: A picture book is a story told both through words and images. It is both literature and visual art. As an illustrator, I help explain the story by visually portraying characters, actions, and settings from the text. I expand on the story by using my imagination to add details for the readers to discover and make the pictures exciting to look at.
RICHARD RUDNICKI: I find that when I illustrate a children’s picture book I can tell more about the story than just the words. I like to take ownership of the stories I work on. I thoroughly research them and work into the images elements of the story not covered by the words. This is my way of sharing what I have found, and what I find interesting, about the story as a whole.
The more I work on books, the more I find myself drawn to true stories from history. I love looking back in time and trying to see not just what people were wearing and how things looked, but what were their attitudes, how did people think, and why did they do the things they did?
I have a book just about to be released from Groundwood Books, Tecumseh. It’s the life story of a great New World leader that takes place over 200 years ago. It took an enormous amount of research and I’m very proud of the forty illustrations I painted for it. I was very concerned about getting the images of the material culture as right as I possibly could to pay respect to those people from the past, and to be truthful to those now reading the book.