Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 1, 2017

illustrator Sunday – Sharismar Rodriguez – Part Two Interview

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.

8. What is the normal turnaround time you expect for an illustrated picture book?

Well, I’m not sure if “normal” would be the word I’d use. I think an ideal turnaround time would be around 6 months, from sketches to final art. Nonetheless, there are a lot of variables to take into account when building the schedule of a book, which can add or subtract months to the process.

9. What is the shortest turnaround time you have seen?

If I remember correctly, I think it was about 3-4 months from sketches to finishes. It was a crashed project and all the stars HAD to aligned. However, I have to clarify that the art was digital, which really shaves a few weeks of the schedule because there isn’t a need to transport the art, scan it, prep it, receive the final e-files, etc.

10. Are there checkpoints along the way? Thumbnails? Sketches? Couple full color spreads?

Definitely. The editor, the artist and the art director do regular checkpoints throughout the process. Each stage (character designs, thumbnails, sketches, color samples, final samples, final art, and sometimes revisions to final art) is reviewed and every iteration has to be approved before moving to the next.

11. How often you or HMH back out and pay a kill fee?

As in any publishing house, there will be an occasional project that doesn’t pan out as everyone had hoped and we must part ways. But believe me that is not a decision that it’s made lightly and without exhausting every available means to make things work.

12. Do you visit places like Instagram,, etc. Do you have any favorite sites?

Yes, there are a many websites that compile artists’ portfolios, which are great sources when looking for illustrators. Instagram, as well, has become very popular as a platform for artists. Another favorite website/app of mine is Pinterest, I find so many great illustrations there.

13. Would you like to be invited to conferences and other events like you are doing with the Children’s Book Academy?

Absolutely. I’m actually a bit shy but I’m also very passionate about what I do and sharing with others what have learn throughout my years in the publishing world.

14. Any words of wisdom for the unpublished illustrator?

Be yourself, better yet know yourself, your strengths, your weakness; if deep down you know that you don’t like drawing animals (or can’t) than don’t. Find your passions, your inspirations and draw (both literally and metaphorically) from them. This is not to say you can’t try new things (style, medium, subject matter, etc.), all the opposite, it means you should continue to explore and discover your full potential while learning to edit yourself, which it’s not always an easy thing to do. When you are an artist, the making of art should be like a perpetual motion, it never stops it just evolves.

Here is the link to Part One OF MY INTERVIEW WITH SHARISMAR.


Thank you Sharismar for sharing your time and expertise with us. Everyone really appreciates it. Keep in touch.

Talk tomorrow,


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