Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 17, 2017

Illustrator Sunday – Lydia Mueller & Book Winners

Tess Alfonsin wins COME WITH ME by Holly McGhee
Jim Chaize wins THE ADVENTURES OF CAVEBOY by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Please send addresses.

Sharismar Rodriguez is an Associate Art Director for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers and their imprint Clarion Books, where she designs and art directs children’s books for all ages, from Picture Books to Middle Grade and YA novels and Non-Fiction volumes. She started her career in children’s publishing right after obtaining her BFA in Visual Communications from Parsons School of Design.

Some of her work includes award winning and note worthy titles such as New York Times bestseller Greenglass House by Kate Milford, illustrated by Jaime Zollars; Society of Illustrators Los Angeles Illustration 50 West winner 10 Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break If You Want to Survive the School Bus by John Grandits, illustrated by Micheal Allen Austin; Maybe Something Beautiful, an ALA Notable Children’s Book recipient, by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael Lopez; among other books.

When she’s not busy collaborating with amazing illustrators, writers and editors, she’s a secret art crafter, a compulsive Pinterest “pinner”, and a notebook-under-the-mattress writer.

Sharismar enjoys a wide-range of illustration styles to match the wide range of stories that she publishes.

Thank you very much, Lydia, for sharing your illustrations with us. This blue, fluffy bunny is cute, clever AND funny! You told us so much about this character in only 2 spreads, BRAVO! You have just engaged your audience and we want to know more. 

I can definitely see your background in Animation and Graphic Design in your samples and it’s working in your favor; it’s in the pacing of the story, it’s in the settings and characters’ design and I think it gives the art a familiarity that kids, especially the young reluctant readers, could relate to because it’s evocative of the motion graphics they see on TV and Video Games. I also love that while the color palette is neutral it has splashes of bold colors and fun textures that gives this digital art lots of richness.

This first sample, the full bleed spread, is a pleasant opening spread, and if it’s not an opening spread it shows a pivotal moment in the story, and that works too. I really like the bunny’s expression and body language, there’s no question that he has come upon a discovery. I see you tried to give the broken guitar a spotlight, I say “tried” because I think you where a little shy with it and I feel the spotlight on the guitar should be a bit stronger and more obvious. The sun rays coming down from in between the trees is a very nice touch that you can push a bit further and it could give you an opportunity to add beautiful golden tones to make the art even brighter.

The details in the background, the RV and the tent, spark my curiosity, will there be humans in the story at some point or are there just a representation of the humans’ obliviousness to these wonderful creatures their world? 

I love that your second spread is a mix of spots and a full bleed page, it gives me a sense of how the pacing of the book could be and it shows a good range and balance, but I think that it would flow even better if the third spot were also silhouetted as the two above. I suspect that you are trying to show the bunny running through the trees except that, by showing the forest in the previous spread and in the opposite page you already have this covered. In this particular case I think it’s more important to show the action of the bunny hopping, which is more exciting than emphasizing his surroundings.

The last page (full bleed on the right) is ADORABLE! The characters expressions are on point, the bunny looks so content singing to the bird and the bird’s reaction is priceless. I can read so much into this piece, it could be a story about friendship, or it could be about a bunny trying to “pay it forward” by serenading a signing bird and much more.

The way you handled the musical notes, staff lines, and the loose feathers adds so much energy to this illustration and the perspective is pitch perfect. My only suggestion for this piece is that I’d somehow make the pagination of the book work so that this piece is in a page turn, to make it even more of an impactful moment in the book. 

Lydia, I’m very happy that your path has led you to the world of Illustration; I think you are a great addition to this industry.


Lydia Mueller is an illustrator represented by Lemonade Illustration living in the cornfields outside of Chicago. She went to school for animation and has a great love for cartoons and anything labeled as “weird” or “fantasy”.  She worked in graphic design for several years but 2 years ago she decided to get serious about illustrating – something she always loved because of the storytelling aspect.


Sharismar, thank you for sharing your expertise with us. I enjoyed Lydia’s artwork and hearing your thoughts.


Opportunity: $70 Discount available if you register by Tuesday, plus a new half off Graphic Novels Bonus and Invoice:

Sharismar is working with illustrators during the industry’s leading online children’s book illustration course – Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books – starting September 25th. Click Here for Details.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Lydia, I LOVE your style and Sharismar’s critique was again SO educational! 😀 Thanks, ladies!

    And Congrats to Tess and Jim on the wins! 😀


  2. Kathy,

    So glad to have won “The Adventures of Caveboy” by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. I am an aspiring PB author with two cave boy stories of my own, so can’t wait to read it. My address is Jim Chaize, 257 Fishell Road, Rush, NY 14543.



    On Sun, Sep 17, 2017 at 12:05 AM, Writing and Illustrating wrote:

    > Kathy Temean posted: “Tess Alfonsin wins COME WITH ME by Holly McGhee Jim > Chaize wins THE ADVENTURES OF CAVEBOY by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen Please > send addresses. Sharismar Rodriguez is an Associate Art Director for > Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers and their ” >


  3. Thank you so much for the critique and encouragement Sharismar!


Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: