3 Question Interview - BEVERLY LOVE WARREN
I'm so happy to interview my writing friend, Beverly Love Warren! She is the illustrator of the recently released picture book, FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE (written by Candace Spizzirri, Clear Fork Publishing), and her debut author/illustrator picture book, HAVE YOU SEEN MOUSE?, released in March 2022, also with Clear Fork. Beverly discusses her writing and illustrating process, and chats about stories . . . creativity . . . and connection. Welcome, Beverly!
STORIES – Discuss the inspiration for your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.
Melissa, thanks so much for this opportunity to share about my book on your blog. I remember when I first met you in Mira Reisberg's illustration class in 2020. You were a help to me in that class. I believe you were quite a help to Mira as well.
Inspiration for my stories can come from anywhere, but often it comes from the art of others, whether written, visual art, movies, or music. Another place is nature. I live in a semi-rural area and get to see lots of wildlife. The behavior and antics of animals and birds have been the inspiration of several of my stories. Also, I must not forget children whose curiosity and relationships with their family and friends give me ample ideas for stories as well. The inspiration for Have You Seen Mouse? came from the forest. A little over two years ago, while driving through a wooded area with my husband, I saw a fallen tree. In my imagination a slumped bear sat on that tree. I wondered what was wrong and concluded that he had lost his best friend - and a story was born.
Another thought about inspiration. I have always been a visual artist since I could first hold a pencil or crayon, but I had not been a creative writer. It was something I had wanted to learn but didn't seriously decide to pursue until an inspiration struck me. In 2015, I visited the Weta workshop in Wellington, New Zealand. This workshop created the props for the Lord of the Rings (and other) movies. I loved this trilogy and the creative work being done at Weta, so I decided "now is the time to write." When I returned to the states, I signed up for my first writing course - Making Picture Book Magic.
CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase your creative side through writing/illustrating and other pursuits?
Because I am primarily a visual artist, I think visually. I love words too, but they come second to images and scenes. I watch the movement of my characters through the scenes and obstacles as they seek to reach their goal, then I ask- how do I put this in words? I jump into the mind of the characters to try and sense what they might be feeling with their given circumstances. When I begin the illustrations, I ask what perspective, angle, or colors will best show this scene or mood and how do I make it work with the other scenes in the book. From start to finish - the idea is conceived, draft written and revised, many times. Then I draw up a rough story board to plan the page turns and what the pages will look like. After that, character sketches are made, the story board or book dummy is refined, one or two full size sketches are drawn and from them one or two final pieces of art are completed. This is all done before submitting the project to a publisher, if possible. Other creative pursuits that I have enjoyed: oil painting on canvas, jewelry making, crocheting, sewing anddoll making - sculpted with clay and costumed. If desire is present and pursued, I think all of us can find a writer and an artist within.
CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing/illustrating, and how do you stay connected to the KidLit community?
As time and schedule permits, I enjoy reading to children - discussing stories, ideas and art. I stay connected to the kidlit community through SCBWI, Julie Hedlund's 12x12 PB writing challenge, my Facebook kidlit groups, attending conferences (online these days) and webinars. Also, I connect on a more personal level with my marketing group - PB22Peekaboo and my critique groups. I find that the kidlit community is very open, helpful, and encouraging. When Have You Seen Mouse? released this past March the members of my marketing and critique groups cheered me on. It's that kind of support that is so helpful, especially when we encounter the bumps in the road toward publication.
Thank you, Melissa, for featuring me on your blog. It was a joy. And I appreciate all you do for the kidlit community.
Beverly is the illustrator for Fishing with Grandpa and Skye by Candace Spizzirri and
My Child My Princess by Beth Moore. Have You Seen Mouse? is her debut picture book
as an author. She is a former K-8th art teacher and a graduate of the Fashion Institute of
Technology where she studied illustration and design. Currently she is an active member
of SCBWI, 12x12 and her marketing group - PB22Peekaboo.
Beverly makes her home in Washington state where she lives with her husband. When she is not illustrating or writing stories, you can find her hiking, at church, in her garden or enjoying time spent with her three children and six grandchildren.
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