Friday, January 30, 2015



Welcome to PICTURE PROMPTS! This is my way of 'paying it forward' for all the beautiful illustrations found in picture books all around the world. For the next year you will see me visit with guest illustrators, spotlighting their beautiful artwork and sharing their answers to a few questions I thought my readers might want to know about these illustrators. On the Friday when an illustrator hasn't stopped by for a visit and a hot cup of green tea, I will put up a random PICTURE PROMPT that has inspired me to write a little flash fiction to share with you!

If you are an illustrator, established or just starting out, and would like to participate in my PICTURE PROMPT series, just shoot me an email over to donasdays (at) gmail (dot) com and I will send you the information on how to join the fun!

Please welcome talented illustrator, Sara Lynn Cramb and check out her answers to my interview questions...

Why did you decide to become an illustrator?
I’ve loved children’s books from a very young age and have collected them for years. After graduating college, and working as a designer for a number of years, I found that something was missing, I really missed illustration. I decided to get serious about pursuing illustration as a career a little over two years ago and have really enjoyed making my childhood dream become a reality. 


Where do you get your inspiration?
I find a lot of inspiration in my work from the natural world, including both living and extinct animals,  I’ve always loved observing nature and the daily lives of animals. Vintage picture books (especially anything including maps) are also a huge influence on me, as well as indie and web comics.

Do you have a favorite illustration of yours? Why is it your favorite?
That’s a tough one! My current favorite would have to be “The Squid and the Whale: An Unlikely Love Story” []. It’s my first piece telling a story through a series of panels, I had lots of fun breaking the panels to lead the viewer's eye through the piece. I created a number of digital brushes and developed several new techniques to make something that was a bit different in style from my previous work.  

If you could invite five other illustrators (alive or deceased) to dinner, who would you invite and why?
That would have to be Charley Harper, Jan Brett, Jon Klassen, Marc Simont, and Bill Watterson. Jan Brett and Bill Watterson were huge influences on me as a child, I would spend hours pouring over their work, absorbing every detail. Bill Watterson’s integrity throughout the run of Calvin and Hobbes made me think seriously about what it means to be a working artist. 

Charley Harper, Jon Klassen, and Marc Simont are fairly recent discoveries for me. Charley Harper’s ability to break the shapes of animals down into simple, yet beautiful forms, and work with a diverse range of clients, is something I really admire. I love the deceptive simplicity of Marc Simont’s work, I have a soft spot for flat color and subtle textures. Jon Klassen is a master at making digital art look very organic.

What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a series of illustrations for a short story about a snake that escapes from a zoo to take a vacation in the city, and a t-shirt illustration for an animal charity. I’m also working on a number of personal pieces delving into earth science, astronomy, maps, and more animal illustrations focusing on species I haven’t drawn before.
Do you work in different mediums? If so, which style is the most challenging?
I primarily work digitally, using Adobe Illustrator for most of my pieces. I’ve started teaching myself Sketchbook Pro as well. I have a “flat” style and a more “textured” style. They both have their own challenges, but the “textured” style is a bit more time consuming as I spend a fair amount of time making sure the brushes and other effects I add to the work are in balance and don’t compete for attention with the main focus of the image.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about trying to become an illustrator?
Do your research, figure out which market will be a good match for your work. There are plenty of good resources, both in print and online, that will help you gain the knowledge you need early on, and will continue to be helpful later in your career. Seek out other artists with similar interests and join a critique group. That will help give you valuable feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your work and help you improve your skills more quickly than you could on our own. Once you’ve got a body of work that you are proud of, build yourself a simple portfolio website and start showing your work to people. No one will hire you if they can’t see your work!
Do you have another job in addition to being an illustrator?
I also work as a freelance graphic designer. It’s nice to have something that’s still creative to work on in between my illustration jobs. Being a designer has helped a lot with putting my website together and creating promotional materials for myself.

Thanks Donna!


Sara Lynn Cramb is an illustrator and designer with a love of visual storytelling. She specializes in creating images that feature maps, animals, and monsters, as well as fun and engaging educational illustrations for children's books, magazines, novelty books, and signage. She currently lives in Athens, GA with her husband, two turtles, and a pair of mischievous cats.

Portfolio Website:

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