Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 14, 2018

Illustrator Saturday – Kathryn Howard

Kathryn Howard grew up in a family of nine who moved nearly every year. Living in different communities and cultures gave her perspective and appreciation for differences. Working in the the education field she sought to encourage creativity and divergent thinking. Now as an artist she seeks to impact the lives of those around her. And she likes to use glitter.


First I start with a blank screen and an idea and an embarrassingly ancient version of Illustrator. (I resisting the subscription thing). I wanted to make an image of someone swinging.

I started with the face because that’s what appeals to my at first. I used a thick pencil brush for the outline of the face.

Next I add hair with the thick pencil brush and also cheek color Magenta with Dry Brush 4 with SVG filter Alpha 4.

Then I would draw the body and swing referring to some images to get it correct even if it is simplified and stylized. I use a mid-century fabric fill for her clothes and Ink Splatter 3 and Ink Splatter 1 Brushes for the ropes of the swing.

Next I put in a parachute because I like the idea of the swing hanging from a parachute and fill it with the Spiral fill on the swatch palate.

I then added some decorative elements some vector images which I had and over that I put an overlay of magenta at 53% transparency.

And then I thought – “I think I’ll add a cat with a parachute.” So I did with pretty much the same process I used for the girl. The cat’s face is outlined with Dry Brush 6 and the whiskers are Ink Splatter2. The parachute is filled with a fill I created using Watercolor Stroke3.

For the background the cloud shapes are filled with Watercolor Stroke 3 and the cloud outlines are Thick Pencil 2.I also added a swathe of Dry Brush 4 in Baby Pink. And drew two birds and a butterfly for good measure.

This is the finished Illustration.

How long have you been illustrating?

Since I was a kid I have made my own books.

What and when was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

Some images that sold in a gallery about 14 years ago.

Did you go to college to study art?

Yes, but I eventually got my degree in education from the University of Virginia.

Did the school help you find illustration work?

No, and my professors tended to look down their noses at illustration.

Do you feel art school influenced your illustrating style?

Yes, I loved figure drawing and doing loose gestural studies.

When did you start using fabric in your illustrations?

About 10 years ago.

Do you still do ink and watercolor paint along with also doing the fabric illustrations?


What type of illustrating did you do when you first started your career?

Mixed media, digital

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

Working as a kindergarten and preschool teacher turned me into huge picture book devotee.

You won the Honorable Mention Award in the Published Category at the NJSCBWI Conference Show Case. Have you illustrated a picture book? If so,what is the title and how did you get the contract?

I have illustrated my own dummy books and have illustrated books for self-published authors.

Do you have an artist rep. to represent your illustrations? If so, who and how long. I not, would you like to find one?

I don’t but would like to find one.


Have you done any book covers?


Would you illustrate a book for an author who wants to self-publish?

Yes and I have met some folks who are surprisingly good at distributing and marketing their own

Have you worked with educational publishers? Which ones?


Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? Which ones?


Have you ever thought about illustrating a wordless picture book?

Yes, that would be fun.

What do you think is your biggest success?

Raising great kids.


What is your favorite medium to use?



Has that changed over time?



Can you tell us a little bit about your studio?

It’s located in a sunny and very messy corner of my house.

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I try to spend at least 2 hours a day.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

Yes, I go down the proverbial rabbit hole.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?


Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

Yes and Illustrator is a favorite of mine as well.

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet when illustrating?




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

Well for starters I would like to get some of my dummies published.


What are you working on now?

I am working on a book about bunk beds and also one about a mean puppet. And another one
concerning a mountain where only big kids are allowed. Also a graphic novel about growing up
in the military.


Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you
love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

Burlap -there are many uses for burlap.

Example: Burlap is great background for collages. It partners well with felt and is produced in many colors. Mostly though I like to scan and use the burlap as texture fill in my digital work. Tons of fun!

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

Well I am still very much a work in progress. I think being successful is measured by how much
one impacts the lives of others for the better. Having been an educator I would say that seeing
young children respond to literature with such delight makes writing and illustrating it very much
worth the effort. It is a labor of love.

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

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


Talk tomorrow,



  1. I love these illustrations. They come from a very unique imagination. I would think an agent would snap you up. Much success!


  2. so unique and different and fun. It’s obvious you really enjoy making your art. I love it! Thanks for sharing


  3. Love your work, Kathryn! So enjoyed the tour of your beautiful work, and learning about your process.


  4. Thank you for sharing these delightful creations, Kathryn. Each one is lovely and unique.
    Suzy Leopold


  5. This post is wonderful. I love seeing the process of your creativity as it blooms into your final product. Well done!


  6. Delightful Kathryn! Thank you for sharing aspects of your process.


  7. Wow!!!! What a huge and beautiful body of work you have!!!! I am
    SOOO PROUD to still have one of your earlier works!


  8. Kathryn you have a wonderful sense of color. I love your overlay outline, reminiscent of vintage screen printing. Your expressive characters are terrific too.Thanks for sharing your technique (and all the brushes you use).Thank you, Kathy for sharing Kathryn’s work!


  9. A real visual treat. I shall be following your work with interest.


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