Friday, December 20, 2013

Meet the artist #34

You can still see SCBWI WWA art at the Washington State Convention Center through Jan. 8, or check out the art and artists online here.

Laurie O'Keefe

Why did you choose to submit this art?
I was contacted by Sylvan Dell publishers to create the artwork for a fictional story featuring the pocket gopher as the main hero of the Mt. St. Helens eruption (Gopher to the Rescue! A Volcano Recovery Story). I am a medical illustrator by training, but I always jump at the opportunity to draw fun animal characters, so this was a good introduction into the world of children's picture-book art. Even though the story represents a fictional animal, the scientific elements had to be accurate. I made sure to represent plants and animals accurately. I think the piece picked for this show represents the best example of merging accuracy with a picture book's stylistic look.

What does being part of SCBWI mean to you?
SCBWI is my link to the outside world from my island studio! It is a wonderful way to still feel connected.

What is your favorite picture book from childhood?
When I grew up, I thought "daycare" meant spending your days in the library. We did not have a library at home with books—this was the 1960s—so I checked out the same books over and over. We reserved two books constantly: Where the Wild Things Are and Parsley. Now, everyone knows the Sendak book, but Parsley (illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans) has fallen out of circulation. I am glad I received a copy of it for my birthday some years back. I even have a beautiful bonsai tree recently planted outside that I named Parsley. If I were Queen of the Universe, there would be no such thing as a great picture book going out of print!

Fun fact: Laurie lives on Orcas Island. Learn more, and see more images, on STQRY here.

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