Q & A with Mr. Quindlen’s Class

Kate/ April 23, 2018/ blog

For the past few weeks I have been getting some really fantastic questions from the 4th grade class at Bethel Springs Elementary School, home of the Garnet Valley Trailblazers Club. My first question came from a student named Carsen:


Here was my answer:


Then I answered a question from Lukas:


Then I saw that Ethan had asked:

I love this question, but I felt I couldn’t answer it with just words. I needed to illustrate how I create my illustrations step-by-step, and show what kind of supplies I use. After all, I am an illustrate-or.

Each illustration I create requires a multi-step process from brainstorming an idea to creating and sending the final art to be published. In a picture book, that’s 32 pages (or 16 spreads), a front cover, endpapers, a title page, and back matter. For each of these pages I create roughs, thumbnails, thumbnail revisions, sketches, sketch revisions, color sketches, color sketch revisions, tracings, and final art. Revisions are made as I receive feedback from my publisher on each stage I present to them. Some revisions I create for myself until I am happy with how things look.

It’s a process.

So for the next few days I am going to show you my process using one of my books as an example. I think I’ll use my forthcoming book, Belle’s Journey: An Osprey Takes Flight, because it was this time last year that I worked on that book, and right now all over the Northern Hemisphere of this planet, baby ospreys are hatching and beginning their own journeys.

I’ll post a link to Twitter @katesnowbird with each step so you don’t miss a thing. Watch this space—!

About Kate

Kate Garchinsky illustrates and writes children’s books and educational media in her studio in the woodlands near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her debut picture book, The Secret Life of the Red Fox, written by acclaimed wildlife author, Laurence Pringle, received a starred review from School Library Journal. Kate Garchinsky received a grant from the Eckelberry Fellowship at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where she has been researching and illustrating extinction stories about North American birds such as the Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet. Prior to creating children’s books, Kate designed lots of fun things like toys, birdbaths and trail maps. She lives with her husband Brian, Julia and Spencer the cats, and her one-eyed beagle, Maggie May. Kate recently signed on to illustrate two more “Secret Life” narrative non-fiction picture books with Boyds Mills Press—The Secret Life the Little Brown Bat (2018) and The Secret Life of the Skunk (2019). While drawing foxes and bats, Kate also began work on Belle’s Journey, a middle-grade non-fiction chapter book by ornithologist and osprey expert, Rob Bierregaard (Charlesbridge 2018). Get to know more about Kate Garchinsky at http://KateGarchinsky.com (aka PenguinArt.com).