Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.
This week illustrator, Ilene Richard joins us. Ilene, thank you so much for coming! I love hosting illustrators.
Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to share my work with you and your readers.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I received my B.F.A. in illustration, graphic design and jewelry design, from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. After graduating, I decided to pursue a career in jewelry design, and was fortunate to have exhibited in galleries all over the country including many one-woman shows in and around Boston and New York. After investing fifteen years in the jewelry business, I still held a passion for children’s book illustration, and was motivated to find a way to fulfill my dream of having my work published. I attended the DeCordova Museum School, and the Museum school in Boston to learn and figure-out what it would take to make things happen.
Since concentrating on children’s book publishing, I have had the privilege of working with and been published by: Random House, Grossett & Dunlap, Kar-Ben, Spider Magazine, Harcourt, Houghton Mifflin, Scholastic, and Leapfrog to name just a few.
I love working in the children’s book industry, but since things have slowed down a tad, I have been extremely busy expanding my portfolio with a collection of acrylic paintings. My work ranges from colorful and expressive figurative works to animal portraits. My award-winning paintings have been exhibited in various galleries and many juried shows from coast to coast.
I live in Andover, Massachusetts with my husband Larry along with our Corgi named ‘Bessie’ and a Boston Terrier named ‘Lucy’. I also have two great kids who have both graduated from college and are out and about doing their own thing.
Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.
Top 3 skills to hone for people just starting out in my business
I think the most important skill that a future illustrator needs to work on, is to know how to draw well. I feel that it is essential to be able to create characters and be able to put them in any type of scene doing anything. Once you figure that out, then you have to be able to draw page after page of the same character along with maybe many other characters within thirty-two pages plus cover, that is fun, exciting and can move the story along with ease. There is no easy way to make this happen, it is a lot of hard work and dedication. So keep drawing!
The second skill would be to have a sense of humor when you are working in this field. You have to be able to be able to put yourself into the mind of a five year old, and become part of that world again. It is important to take the adult out of the picture…so to speak. Not always so easy to do, so I suggest spending a lot of time in the children’s book section at your local library and check out as many books as you can while sitting in those tiny little seats. Most of all, have fun!
The third skill would be, to learn how to cope with rejection. Not everyone is going to like what you are doing, so receiving a rejection becomes a part of the life of an artist. Rejections can either force you to give up, or you can fight through it and figure out what you need to do to improve. I know that I would not be where I am today as an artist if it weren’t for the rejections and my will to continue to improve and demonstrate to everyone that I am really good at what I do, and can do.
Top 3 tools of the trade
1) My computer/ Wacom.
I cannot believe that I used to do my work without these tools. I used to have to send my finished work to the publishers through the mail, which would take one to two days for shipping. That also meant that I had one to two days less time to finish the work. Boy… I am so glad that has changed!
2) Good paint and brushes.
I strongly encourage any artist to use quality paint and brushes. It makes a world of difference with the finished work. I suggest to not buy cheap materials, it will show.
3) Other talented artists
Not sure if I would consider this a tool, but I have always had artists friends that I respect, to help me out with a problem or concern I may have with a piece that I am working on. I have belonged to critique groups for many years, and I also have a studio in a large community of artists. There are times when I need another artist’s perspective to help me move forward.
Top three professions growing-up
1) Artist for Disney
2) Artist/ Horse Owner
I guess I always knew that being an artist is what I always wanted to be and knew I would be… when I grew-up.
Where can our readers learn more about you and your art?
Thanks, Ilene, for talking with us on Three Times A Charm. It has been so much fun getting to know you better.
I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have a book, a blog or a business related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.