I gal from Colorado spent her free time drawing pictures. She created her first picture book at age eight, called “Skeleton Dog.”
Later, she earned a BA in fine art with a focus on sculpture. She was the recipient of the 2011 Portfolio Mentorship Award at the SCBWI Los Angeles conference, and is currently working on a new picture book with Lee & Low Books, slated for sometime in 2015. Jessica has written picture books, Good Fortune In A Wrapping Cloth and Great Uncle Alistair.
I noticed Jessica’s work through Facebook. Her black and white drawing were so detailed. They evoke a lot of emotion. Her color drawings are just as wonderful. Jessica does her work from Denver, Colorado.
And now for my Tiny Talk interview with Jessica.
ME: How do you want to be remembered?
JESSICA: I think I’d like to be remembered as someone courageous, who wasn’t afraid to break the rules, and who wasn’t afraid to fail spectacularly. There’s a lot of rejection and self-doubt that comes along with writing and illustrating, and I think it takes courage. I think there’s something respectable about someone who can fail, then pick themselves back up and keep going.
ME: Great advice to us writers and illustrators.
ME: Finish this sentence: A perfect day would involve…
JESSICA: Coffee, spending time outside, my husband, laughter, good food, and a sense of accomplishment, chocolate.
ME: Can’t forget the chocolate!
ME: Who influenced your writing career/passion?
JESSICA: My grandfather loved illustrated books, and when I was a kid he would send my sister and I the most beautiful picture books he could find. I treasured these books and still have most of them. I feel a little sad that he was never able to know that I pursued illustration as a career path.
ME: That is the best answer ever. A great memory.
ME: Where do you get your inspiration from?
JESSICA: Creativity is something that grows organically for me. I really can’t force it. All I can do is try to foster an environment where it can grow. It helps when I get up early and create something just for me before the day begins. I’ll sit down with just a pencil and paper and think “where do I want to go? Who do I want to meet?” Often those morning doodles and drawings are much more interesting and have a much truer sense of voice than my other work. They might not be finished illustrations or ideas, but can end up being the seeds for future projects.
ME: And it truly shows in your work. They’re beautiful.
ME: If you could sit and have a drink with a famous artist or illustrator dead or alive, who would it be and why?
JESSICA: Just one? I guess I’d have to go with Trina Schart Hyman. I’ve adored her illustrations since I was a kid. I’d have her sign my battered copy of “Saint George and the Dragon.”
I want to thank you, Jessica for taking time out of your day to answer my questions. I look forward to more of you beautiful work. Good luck in your future successes.