Behind-the-Book with Illustrator Kacey Schwartz
11 months ago 0 Comments 1.5k Views
Curious who created the cutest designs in our new personalized book Reasons Why I Love You? They’re the work of artist and mom Kacey Schwartz! Fueled by coffee, croissants, and a generous serving of toddler giggles, Kacey is an illustrator who loves to make everyone smile! Read our interview and get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how she captures sweet moments and charming details in her illustrations!
What inspires your bright and cheerful designs? Where do you find inspiration?
I find great joy and inspiration in making those I love laugh and smile. That’s what drives me to add extra humorous details, a clever twist, or a secondary character that is cuter or more ridiculous than necessary. I hope that it not only makes the person it is meant for smile, but that it may also brighten–or sweeten–someone else’s day. I do tend to draw a lot of treats. I’m definitely inspired by all things round and covered in sprinkles.
What is your process for illustrating a new book, especially a personalized book?
General brainstorming, visual problem solving and character design are all part of the first, and probably my most favorite stage in creating a new book. Sketching with absolutely no references at first, no limits, just whatever comes to mind. Then I rough in the composition of each page, with small thumbnails to see how it all flows from beginning to end. Each spread is sketched in more refined detail, with color and light blocked in. I proceed with final color by digitally painting my illustrations in Photoshop using a stylus on a tablet computer. That stage takes the longest for me, but it’s really rewarding to see everything, especially the characters, take their final shape.
For this personalized book, I wanted the sender to get a kick out of all of the playful and messy but adorable details that will remind them of the recipient, but also their own childhood.
How did you come up with the illustration concepts for Reasons Why I Love You?
I worked very closely with my art director to make this very sweet and sentimental book come to life. To evoke the wonders of childhood, I drew from personal memories of endless doodling, how cardboard can transform into literally anything you might imagine, and the unmatched joy of a rare sugary breakfast. The heart characters guiding the way throughout the book are simple and cute yet expressive, and I really wanted their unique personalities as well as the vibrant colors of their larger than life surroundings to shine through.
We understand you are a mom of two little ones! How does being a mom spark your creativity?
My four year old does a lot of rapid fire drawing, not lingering too long on any particular idea because you know, that elephant driving an ice cream truck on Mars is just raring to get on paper next. It’s a helpful reminder for me not to fall too deeply in love with that first sketch, or spend all of my energy reworking one drawing, because I may be missing out on that narwhal being carried away by balloons while a cute little lobster family waves it off, for example.
We also love coming home from the library with a fresh stack of picture books. I am continually inspired by different styles of illustration, inventive storytelling, and loveable characters. There is so much amazing work that has been created and it is exciting to think about what is still to come.
What advice would you give to budding artists?
You may end up spending a lot of time working solo, but you are not alone on an island. Find a community, big or small, where you feel comfortable sharing your work, advice, resources, and challenges. Artists share similar insecurities, we hit the same walls and are all hard on ourselves. Be kind and patient with yourself and don’t forget to celebrate your successes, even the smallest ones–like really celebrate them…especially with a donut!