'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Illustrator Interview: Julie Fortenberry

Julie Fortenberry, who has recently illustrated her first children's book, Pippa at the Parade, joins us at Kids Book Review today, with some insights into the life of an illustrator.

Tell us a little about you: what’s your background, your story? My maiden name is Fromme. I have an MFA in painting from Hunter College in New York where I’ve exhibited at Julian Pretto Gallery and White Columns. I’ve also exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in a show about panel painting curated by Roni Feinstein. My husband, Don Fortenberry, is an abstract painter also.

How long have you been illustrating? Pippa at the Parade, by Karen Roosa is my first trade picture book. It’s about a toddler’s first experience seeing a parade and fireworks.

How did you learn to illustrate? As an illustrator I’m self-taught. I’ve been illustrating for magazines and educational publishers for about five years.

Tell us about your books. Currently I’m illustrating a book for Kar-Ben written by Rabbi Jamie Korngold. And I’ve written a book about a large bird adopted by a family of little birds. I love the story, and hope that my agent can sell it.

Tell us a bit about your creative process. I draw/paint on the computer, filling in outlines with color and then moving these shapes around like bits of paper, experimenting with washes and saturation levels as I go.

What’s a typical illustrating day? I don’t really have a typical day. I’m a mother of teenagers. I find myself up in the middle of the night, when I have some quiet time to write, post to Children’s Illustration and paint without interruptions.

What are your all-time favourite kids’ books? One of my favorite kids' books is Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham's Harry the Dirty Dog. And I love all of the old Little Golden Books.

What’s next for Julie Fortenberry? The illustrations for a new picture book by Eve Bunting – I’m thrilled!

Visit Julie Fortenberry's website

Buy Pippa at the Parade online