Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 25, 2017

Illustrator Saturday – Lisa Fields

Lisa Fields was featured on Illustrator Saturday in September 2014. When visited her site, I noticed how much she has added in the last three years, so I contacted Lisa to see she would like to have her new work featured and she said, “Yes”. Here is the link to visit her 2014 feature.

Lisa Fields is an illustrator based out of New York.  She received her BFA in Illustration from Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida and attended The Illustration Academy.  Lisa is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Some clients include: Appleseeds Magazine, Boys’ Life, Cobblestone Magazine, Cricket Magazine, Dig Magazine, Faces Magazine, Highlights for Children, Houghton Mifflin, Kaeden Books, McGraw-Hill Education, Odyssey Magazine, Pearson, Pelican Publishing, Pinata Books, Random House, Ranger Rick Magazine.

Here is Lisa discussing her Process:

My process always starts with a very basic idea/sketch. For personal projects like this one it usually starts with a doodle on any scrap piece of paper I can get my hands on. I am sure this image is not actually the first sketch for this idea but its the first one I can find.

Next I gather reference.  Google image is an obvious go to.  I also use Adobe stock images or take photographs myself to use as reference.

I then start redrawing my idea using my reference.  I usually draw right on top of my original sketch in Photoshop.  If the original sketch is not digital I snap a picture with my phone and email it to myself.  I start with blocking in general shapes and colors.

Next I continue to tighten up the drawing and also try to get a better feel for the lighting in the picture.

Then I really start to get into the details and also add texture overlays in Photoshop.  Somewhere around here I might convince myself that it is finished but then I stare at it for a day or two and…

I go back in and fix the things that are bothering me (in this picture it was baby bear).

ABOVE: Finished Piece.
BELOW: Another Bear Finished Piece.

What have you been doing since our last interview in 2014?

I have been working on my craft! I have pretty much completely turned over my portfolio with new work which makes me happy.  I am always trying to improve.  I also moved out of New York City to White Plains, New York.  I love that city but it is nice to have some more space.  I certainly have more room in my studio area now which is appreciated.

I see you have done a lot of magazine illustrations in the last three years, can you tell us about that?

I have worked a lot with Cricket Media Group on magazine illustrations.  Over the years I have got to know some of the art directors there.  It is fun to work with people when there is a certain level of trust.  Often times I do get direction, but I feel comfortable making suggestions and many times I am able to take the illustrations in any direction I want which is a lot of fun.

You said you went to Ringling College of Art and Design.  How did you end up leaving Florida to live in New York?

Yes, I went to school at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota Florida, but I have not been back there in years.  I really should plan a visit.  Even though I went to school in Florida I grew up in Westchester, New York.  Most of my family is here so it was an easy decision for me to come back after school.  I loved Florida, but I missed the season changes.

Are you still with Christina Tugeau? How often do you send her work to look over?

Yes, I am still with CATugeau. I work with Christy a lot and get a lot of educational work through them.   They have been great to work with and a lot of work I get from them I would not have gotten on my own.  There are a few different ways it happens.  Sometimes clients will go to them and ask them if I am available for some work.  Sometimes clients will ask who is available in the agency at that time and I will be an artist recommend to them.  And last… sometimes clients will have an assignment for another artist at my agency and if that artist is not available my agents can point them in my direction.  Being part of the agency has value for me.  I am not sure if all agencies are this way but CATugeau has a community feel about it which is greatly appreciated.

What types of things do you personally do to get your work seen by publishing professionals?

I send out a lot of postcards.  They are fun to create, and I believe they are appreciated by art directors.  I also try to keep my social media as up to date as possible.  I go through phases like everyone.  Sometimes I am good at posting and sometimes I forget my pages exist.  From what I have heard it seems like art directors do find artist on social media these days so I have been trying to post updates more.

Have you ever tried to write and illustrate your own story?

Yes!  This was always a goal of mine and I have finally done it after years of thinking about it.  I finished my story a few months ago and currently Chris and Christy are trying to get it out there to publishers.  I have my fingers crossed someone will pick it up.  As an illustrator I consider myself to be a story teller but not exactly a writer, so it was fun and an interesting challenging for me.  I already have a few other stories in mind and I think it won’t take me as long this time to get them down on paper.  Finishing the first story gave me more confidence.  It was definitely hard learning how to to edit things out.   Sometimes as an illustrator I wanted to draw something but had to come to terms with the fact that it had to be cut from the story to make it work better as a whole.

What is your favorite medium to use? Last time we talked you said you went digital. Is this still your main approach to illustrating? Do you think you have developed those skills in the last 3 years?

I am still working digitally on my Wacom cintiq!  Same products as before but I do feel like I have come a long way in just 3 years.  I started working digitally when I was living in my tiny NYC living space.  It really was difficult for me to work with traditional material in such a small space because I would make such a huge mess.  Now that I have moved out of the city I have a bit more space to play around but I have really grown to love working digitally.  I could see myself working more traditional elements back into my work in the future though.  Check back again in another 3 years!

Have you seen you style change in the last three years?

I think my style is always changing.  I am constantly trying to improve my work.  Currently I am taking some online classes at Schoolism.  It is a subscription base service that gives you access to stream tutorial videos from amazing illustrators.  They offer live classes as an option too but I can’t commit the time to it at the moment so I appreciate being able to follow along at my own pace.  I decided to start doing this a few months ago because I realized I was never really trained in working digitally.  Adobe Photoshop is a powerful tool and I know I haven not even begun to scratch the surface of what it can do.  Honestly with most of my work I use one brush in photoshop.   I have already learned so many new helpful tricks from the tutorials.  I also recently signed up for a portfolio review with Giuseppe Castellano through the Illustration Department.  It was very helpful to get an honest professional critique on my portfolio.   After that session I had a clear idea going forward what was working in my portfolio and what I needed to work on moving forward.

How many picture books have you illustrated?

I have illustrated two books for Pelican Publishing and one for Tricyle Press which was an imprint at Random House.  I have also illustrated 4 books with Pinata books.  My most recent one was A Charmed Life by Gladys E Barbieri.

Are you open to working with self-published authors or is that something Christina would not let you do?

Typically I work with publishing houses but I might be open to it if it was a story that I really liked as well.  Recently I did do a book cover illustration for an author that lives in my area.  We had met each other on a lunch break at a SCBWI Winter conference.  She had saved my card and asked me to illustrate her self published book a few years later.  The book is called The Girls of Haviland by Deborah Rafferty Oswald.,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

Have you done any work for educational publishers? (I know this has changed from reading your website.)

Yes, I have done a lot of work for educational publishers.  Most of it I get through my agents and it has kept me busy especially this year!

Do you use Photoshop in your work?

I do use Photoshop with my Wacom Cintiq.  I use Adobe Creative Cloud services.  It’s a subscription based service so you pay a monthly fee to continue to use the product.  I like it because I always have the latest version.  Since I work digitally I do my entire painting in Photoshop.  As I said earlier I still feel like I have a fairly basic understanding of all the features available in the product so I am currently tasking myself with learning about them.  When creating my book dummy I also used Adobe InDesign for the first time this year.  I still have a ton to learn about that product as well.  It helped me lay out the book and print it easily when it came time to create the book dummy.

I love your sketches. How much time do you spend do that?

Thank you.  The amount of time I spend on sketches depends on how much work I have.  This year I am fortunate to have kept pretty busy so I do miss my sketchbook.  I have not been able to spend as much time with it as I would like to.

Do you have a studio set up in your house? What’s new in your studio since we last talked?

I still do not have a completely designated studio area but the space where I work is MUCH bigger than the studio apartment I was living in the last time we spoke.  I am no longer working where I sleep and eat!  My equipment is pretty much the same.  It is just a more inspiring roomy space for me to work in instead of being cramped in a corner.

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

I would like to get a book published that I wrote and illustrated.  As I stated earlier I have my first book dummy finished and now I feel like the floodgates have opened.  I have a bunch of other ideas and I am excited to get them out of my head and on paper.

What are you working on now?

I am working on one illustration for Muse magazine about pets.   I am also working on an illustration for Dig magazine on a Syrian folktale.  Lastly, I am working on a promotional illustration for my agents.  They will be sending out a Chapter Book/Middle Grade YA email blast in early December.  I am going to illustrate the cover to the story The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.  I am currently reading the book so I can get a good feel for the character.

Thank you Lisa for sharing your journey, expertise, and process with us. If you would like to see more of Lisa’s illustrations visit her at:

Thank you Lisa for sharing your talent, process, and expertise with us. Make sure you share you future successes with us. To see more of Lisa’s work, you can visit her at her website:

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Lisa. I am sure she’d love to hear from you and I enjoy reading them, too. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Such a wonderful interview. I could look at Lisa’s artwork all day. Thanks for including the cover of The Girls of Haviland!


  2. Great interview! I love your work Lisa!


  3. A terrific, growing talent! And lovely person – also appreciated! Thanks Kathy for your continued interest!


  4. Great work, Lisa!


  5. Wonderful, Lisa!


  6. I love your work, Lisa! Thanks for a great interview to you and Kathy.


  7. I’m head over heels in love with Lisa’s work! So glad you featured her, Kathy!


  8. Lisa, your work is stunning, stunning, STUNning! Those faces! And the light in their eyes. Just amazing 🙂 Thanks for sharing all this!


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