Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Interview with Jessica Love, illustrator of the Night Buddies series

Jessica Love grew up in California and studied printmaking and drawing at UC Santa Cruz, then went to study acting at The Juilliard School in NYC.

Jessica currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, toggling back and forth between her work as an actor and her work as an artist.

It is a real pleasure to have you here with us today Jessica at Families Matter. We love the Night Buddies series you illustrator for and thought it was time to get to know the woman behind those fun, adventurous and funny pencil sketches. If you would, please tell us about you and how you started in illustrating.

Jessica: Both of my parents are artists. My mom is a basket weaver and my dad is a potter, so I grew up in their studio. My favorite toys were always a roll of butcher paper and markers. That pretty much holds true to this day.

Can you share the process of working with an author to illustrate a book?

Jessica: Sands has very specific ideas of how he wants things to look. Sometimes the way I imagined a scene was totally different from the way he imagined it, and it was hard at times to throw out something I was quite fond of to try to get closer to what he wanted. But that is part of the process, it is a negotiation, and it's different with each author. Sometimes, if you're really lucky, you imagine things the same way, and when you show the author what you've done they say, "Yes! That's exactly how I imagined him! How did you know he had a weak chin?" and that is an incredibly satisfying feeling. It's like being the left and right hemisphere's of the same brain.

How did you get the picture idea of what each character in Night Buddies looked like?

Jessica: It's a pretty intuitive process. I suppose it's the same way anyone would do it, you read the story, and the character just looks a certain way in your imagination. For me that's always been the case. The way a character looks, especially in a children's book, tells you everything about them, and the text leads the way, not just in terms of what it actually says (short, dark hair, rings on her fingers) but more indirectly in how the character expresses themselves and how other characters respond to them. All those elements paint a picture of how the character exists in the world.

What is a typical work day like for you?

Jessica: Ain't no such thing. I'm also a working actor, and so my schedule is woefully unstructured. My work is always piecemeal, and I squeeze it in when I can. I'm happiest if I can exercise first thing in the morning and then bang out a bunch of work before noon. The exercise helps because illustrating can really hurt your back!

What do you enjoy most about illustrating?

Jessica: There is a zone of total focus you can get into where your mind is a beautiful blank, and your hands are just doing their job. It's what I imagine dancing would be like, if I were a really good dancer.

Who is your favorite Night Buddies character and why?

Jessica: I suppose Fast Fanny. I like that all the characters seem drawn from a slightly dated, 1940's cache of types, but Fanny appeals to me in particular because she's a fast talking broad, sort of a Girl Friday type.

How has becoming a published illustrator changed your life?

Jessica: So far it hasn't changed it, but I'm hoping the exposure will lead to more work!

What is your favorite part in either book 1 or 2 of the Night Buddies series?

Jessica: I like the Iguana den. It reminds me a bit of films like Cool Hand Luke; all these lowlifes talking in this silly, criminal argot. It's fun.

What are your plans now?

Jessica: I'm currently working on a book of my own. I've always drawn with a narrative in mind. I've never been able to really engage with an image without inventing a story to go along with it, and it's actually harder to only have control over one end of the medium. I think that's probably true for most people; whenever we read a story that, for example, gets turned into a movie, everyone has a very different, very specific idea of what various characters and senarios are meant to look like. We can't help it, we imagine pictures to go along with stories, and stories to go along with pictures. So it's satisfying to have control over both.

Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?

You can find out more about Sands Hetherington, Jessica Love and the Night Buddies series World of Ink Author/Book Tour at http://tinyurl.com/bysdkbv

Follow the Night Buddies at
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/nightbuddies
Twitter: @Night_Buddies

Publisher Website: www.dunebuggypress.com

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit http://worldofinknetwork.com  

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*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive.