Engaging the Elusive Illustrator


“Hard to comprehend or define, hard to isolate or identify <a haunting aroma>”

Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

A haunting aroma of turpennoid, frozen oil paints in a kitchen freezer, dried watercolors, kneaded erasers and pencil shavings; that might be the first thing to assault your senses when searching for the elusive illustrator. You might smell them before you see them. Having been isolated in a studio, the ellusivator may be startled that someone is actually trying to engage them in conversation, so approach the creature slowly. You might want to start with a slight nod of the head. Avoid making eye contact right at first and do no stare at its unkempt appearance. Smile and ask, “So you’re an illustrator?”

The ellusivator may answer, after clearing its throat with a garbled “What?” Speech may be hard to process for those newly out of the studio environment. If approaching a children’s book elusivator, keep your vocabulary on a level they can quickly interpret such as, “I see you remembered to brush your teeth this morning.” If the ellusivator does not run, then you can follow with deeper questions, “Do you use a paint brush to make your illustrations or do you use new fangled soft ware and computers?” “What is your favorite brush?” “May I take a look at your sketch book?” Most children’s book ellusivators are happy to share their sketch books with strangers. Do not be startled if you find yourself within the pages. Just smile and say, “You are very good at capturing likenesses.”

Disengaging the Ellusivator

After engaging the ellusivator you may have a hard time disengaging. You may walk away and find the ellusivator is following you from a distance but if you keep weaving and dodging, the ellusivator should tire and go back to it’s sketch book. You may find it hard to believe but children’s book ellusivators can deliver a great school visit, engaging the little ellusivators that attend your school.

About Sherry Meidell

Sherry Meidell is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society Western Federation Watercolor Society and the Utah Watercolor Society. She loves to paint with watercolor whether she is painting pictures or illustrating children's picture books. She is a member of SCBWI. Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
This entry was posted in Children's Book Illustration, sketch book and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Engaging the Elusive Illustrator

  1. Deena Riley says:

    Sherry, you are a crack-up. I don’t even know you and yet I truly do. Thanks for your amazing illustrations and humor. Hope to meet you someday since you are one of my ideals! What do you think about Valentines? Love to hear your opinion on this one!

  2. Hey Deena, Thanks for the kind comments. I usually don’t know it’s Valentines until a few days later so the opinion would come around St. Patrick’s Day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s