Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 17, 2010

Illustrator Saturday – Doris Ettlinger

A number of years back I discovered the artwork of Doris Ettlinger and have been enjoying the children’s books that she illustrates ever since. I am happy to share Doris with you. I know you will enjoy her talent as much as I do. Here’s Doris:

Doris Ettlinger graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and received an MFA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  She has been illustrating ever since. 

Most of her early illustrations were for magazines and newspapers. Her clients included The New York Times, Forbes, Penguin Books and Scholastic. 

Motherhood and the move from Manhattan to Warren County changed the direction of Doris’ career. Educational publishing, with its longer deadlines, was a better fit with her family-driven schedule.  In 1992 Doris signed with Cornell & McCarthy, artist representatives in the children’s market.

Sketches for Memories of the Manger

Doris’ models come in very handy when doing an overhead point of view.

Most of Doris’ picture books include a view from overhead.

Or a view from the ground.    The Orange Shoes.

“Supper” from The Orange Shoes

Doris used glazes of transparent watercolor to create the mood of this piece.  When the watercolor is finished she uses colored pencil to recapture the line and add lighter color to the dark areas.  

Abe Lincoln Loved Animals

Daughter Ivy

Since then Doris has illustrated picture books for Albert Whitman & Co. Simon & Schuster and especially Sleeping Bear Press. 

Doris’s recent books include:

THE ORANGE SHOES by Trina Hakes Noble, selected for the 2008 IRA Teachers’ Choices List in the Primary Category, as well as 8 state nominations, including the Charlotte Award for New York State. 

G IS FOR GARDEN STATE by Eileen Cameron

PILGRIM CAT by Carol Peacock



March 2011 is the release date for Doris Ettlinger’s next picture book, A Book for Black-eyed Susan, by Judy Young (Sleeping Bear Press).  Be sure to have a hanky ready when you read this book.  Here’s the opening scene.  A print of this illustration was in the juried show at this year’s NJSCBWI conference.

Thumbnail for  “Birth”

Final sketch – Aunt Alma holds Cora’s baby sister.  Cora’s mother has died in childbirth on the Oregon Trail.  

Drawing on watercolor paper  (arches hot press – stretched on board)

First a thin wash of aureolin yellow.  Then rose madder genuine.  (Winsor Newton)

A splashy wash of ultramarine blue with a little alizarin crimson and winsor green.  Cerulean blue at the horizon.  Not dark enough however.

Winsor green and alizarin crimson for the grassland and hills.  Details in colored pencil. 

To see more of Doris Ettlinger’s work visit her website at

Doris’ next goal is to illustrate a story she has written herself.  To that end she joined the Hunterdon County Children’s Writer and Illustrator Group (HCCWIG).  This association, as well as teaching the Musconetcong Watercolor Group, has expanded her network of like-minded friends and brought her work to a new level.  She is no longer a studio hermit. 

Doris lives with her husband, Mike McFadden – artist, craftsman, and high school teacher – in a 150-year-old gristmill on the banks of the Musconetcong River near Hampton, NJ.  She’s usually in her studio or walking the dog.  Otherwise, she’s teaching art class on the third floor.

Doris’ studio

Please visit her website at

Make sure you click on the link to visit Doris’ website.  We just scratched the surface with her illustrations.

Hope you enjoyed getting to know Doris.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Doris’ illlustrations are as inspiring as they are beautiful. Thank you for sharing, Kathy!


  2. Kathy,

    I love these illustrator Saturdays. Great Idea!

    Doris’s illustrations are lovely!



  3. Just gorgeous work, Doris. I met you decades ago when I was a designer at Scholastic Mags. And now we’re both with NJSCBWI.


  4. Wonderful to see your process Doris. I really enjoyed the transformation of the wagon piece – you make me want to be a better illustrator.

    Thank you for sharing!



  5. Wow, she never seises to wow me. beth


  6. Splendiferous! Moving and beautifully informative–and inspiring.


  7. Gorgeous, Doris!!! I love the details like how the sunlight shines through the yellow dress in The Orange Shoes.


  8. I was present when Doris shared about Children’s Book Illustration and gave a demonstration at the Warren County Arts Group in Spring, 2009. I was in awe, and still am… 🙂 What a pleasure to be in SCBWI with her now. She’s truly inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing this!


  9. I love “Ivy Under the Oak”
    and the blue of the night with it’s sparkling stars!! Can’t wait for your next!!


  10. Doris is a wonderful teacher! As a member of the Musconetcong Watercolor Group, I have learned so much from her and expanded my horizons. Seeing her illustrations in process has been really exciting.


  11. I am one of Doris’ extremely fortunate students. Her work is as inspiring as it is beautiful. I have grown so much as an artist under her direction. It’s great to see her receive the recognition she deserves.


  12. Doris, Your illustrations are beautiful. I especially love the “view from the ground” of the soiled foot pad. Oh, wait! I also love the soft aura of the covered wagon. Oh, wait! I also…I could go on and on. Thank you for giving me inspiration for my painting trip to Paris.


  13. Doris’ work is, as ever, beautiful. I loved seeing the evolution of the covered wagon piece with the finish glowing so poignantly.


  14. I’m impressed! Can’t wait to see the book you are writing and illustrating – painting your own thoughts has got to be the ultimate creative experience.


  15. Fantastic artist and teacher. Arejay


  16. I definitely enjoyed this, Kathy! Thank you! I wasn’t aware of Doris’s work and glad I am now. I love her perspectives; the one with the view of the church through the child’s legs is SO fresh!


  17. WOW!!! But you always wow us!!!
    You are awesome!!!
    Brian and Marge Normile


  18. This is wonderful! You are a gifted artist with the ability to inspire others. Fran


  19. Ettlinger? Yes I am an artist also. Just found your work, and love it. I also loved a girl, in 1979, Judith, with your last name. Visited the family once. Last took her to the airport to fly to France. Her mother a collage artist, last name Wanderer, was well known. Judith went to France for a summer study program and we never saw each other again. Thanks for reminding me of my own lost lust sorrow, now with joy.


  20. I constantly emailed this blog post page to all my
    contacts, because if like to read it after that my friends will too.


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