Featured Children's Book Illustrator: Katie Wilson

Published 3 months ago

This month’s featured illustrator is Katie Wilson. Katie illustrated the delightful board book Landmarks, which we included in our Bookroo board book boxes.

Katie is a New Zealand-based illustrator with a fun, whimsical style that we adore! As she describes it, her illustrations are “sweet and cheerful with a handmade feel.” She has illustrated six children’s books in a charming series that help children learn about the world around them. In addition to illustrating children’s books, she has also done illustration work for greeting cards and magazines. Her impressive client list includes Hallmark and Papyrus, and she also has a shop featuring her illustrations. (The interview has been edited for clarity.)

Children's Book Illustrator Katie Wilson

We were thrilled to interview Katie to learn more about her and her work.

Bookroo: The illustrations for Landmarks are so playful and fun! How did you go about creating them?

Katie: These illustrations were made with watercolour, gouache, coloured pencil and graphite. I love using different media to create unique textures and linework. I then scan these and work on them a little more in Photoshop adjusting the colour and moving elements around until I am happy.

Bookroo: We love your illustration style and think it is very recognizable and unique. How did you go about developing your personal style?

Katie: I think my style is still evolving, and I still find it hard to recognise my own style - this is a problem a lot of illustrators seem to have, perhaps we are too close to our own work to see it! I try to keep pushing my work, trying new materials and media. I think mostly style comes from creating lots and lots and lots of work, noticing when something is particularly working for me, and incorporating that in future work.

Children's book Landmarks!

Bookroo: What guides or references do you use as you’re creating an illustration, whether it’s of an animal, building, or landscape?

Katie: If I don’t have a lot of time I’ll often look for reference images on the internet, I also love to look through vintage books for reference images - they have a different quality to them that I find more interesting to draw from. I also keep my own sketchbooks which can be useful to look through for references.

Bookroo: What led you to illustrating for children’s books?

Katie: I adore children’s books and am so happy that my illustration style fits within this genre. It is an area of illustration that I have always wanted to work in.

Bookroo: What do you hope children feel as they see your books?

Katie: I hope children feel a sense of wonder about the world and that my work in some small way influences them to care for our planet and the other plants and animals we share it with.

Bookroo: What does a typical day look like, and what is your most productive time of day?

Katie: I try to get up as early as possible, as I find the early morning is the best time for me to do my creative work. I start with poached eggs on toast and a coffee, before working for a few hours, either on client work or pieces for my portfolio. I then take a break for lunch and then catch up on emails, do accounts or other administrative tasks. If I’m really busy with deadlines I’ll then keep working, otherwise I try to spend time doing something non-work related.

Children's book illustrator tools

Bookroo: Where do you find inspiration, and where do you like to work?

Katie: I work from home, which I love. I work best without distractions and it is great being able to snuggle with my cats, walk the dog and make a cup of tea if I need a break! If I need inspiration I will take a walk to the local library, sit in my garden and sketch, or go to the beach or forest. I am lucky that I live in a part of the world with spectacular nature at my door.

Bookroo: What is your favorite food?

Katie: Hmmm, this is a difficult one - I love lots of foods - avocados, spinach and cheese pie, ice cream…

Bookroo: What is a goal you’d like to accomplish, whether in your field of illustration or outside of it?

Katie: I’d love to do a lot more children’s books! I also have a few book ideas floating around in my sketchbook that would be amazing to see published.

We really appreciate the opportunity to learn more about Katies and her work as an illustrator. You can learn more about her and see more of her work on her website.

(All images in this interview courtesy of Katie Wilson.)

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