Artist, children's book illustrator and writer Adrienne May found her way into a second life career writing and illustrating children's books. She uses traditional and contemporary tools to create pieces in a realistic style, and takes the same approach to crafting her stories and characters. The tag line of her WinsomeWays online portfolio says it all - "ideas into images."
AA: How did you get into writing?
AM: I came to writing by accident. My career destination is children's book illustration, especially children's picture books. However, designing characters and a world setting(s) are tasks that illustrators and writers must do. Writing was the result of thinking of children's picture books as visualized stories, rather than a series of isolated illustrations.
AA: With experience in fine arts, how do you approach writing the stories?
AM: When I write, visual imagery lets me immerse myself in the story. I try to experience each scene with all my senses. As a writer, I want visual imagery to be a stepping stone to a full-sensory experience of the characters, their world setting and any changes to them in the story. I need this in order to describe them to someone else. As writer and illustrator, I aim to reconcile the voice and physical appearance of each character, the pace of the plot and the narrative weight any physical illustrations must bear.
AA: How does that impact your role as an illustrator?
AM: In my illustrator role, I want to respond to the needs of the story, and update my drawings to reflect physical changes to the characters and world setting. (In one story a character became three years older, and I added three new characters.) While I draw, I ask myself what else is there to understand about the story. In the end, the illustrations ideally show details beyond the text.
AA: How would you describe "success" as an artist?
"In the end, artistic success depends, as it always has, on intangible factors that no training program can provide. One is luck. Another is stubbornness."
'People who really persevere,' Ms. [Dolora] Zajick [mezzo soprano] said, 'find themselves in lucky places.'"
Tip: Try Adrienne May's winsome approach to illustrating your characters with words, and visit WinsomeWays for a visual tour.