Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 26, 2018

Illustrator Sunday – Katie Erickson

Christina Tugeau and Christy Ewers Tugeau of the Cat Agency have agreed to review some of the submissions that were sent in for July/August and didn’t get reviewed. Hope you enjoy reading these critiques. I know I am enjoying them.



Hello from The CAT Agency Inc.!  We’ll be reviewing some fun illustrations starting today and through the month of Sept. As always we look forward to discussing the fine points of kid lit illustration.  Christy, the new owner of the agency as of Jan. 1 2018 will take 3 and I will take 3…starting with this week’s darling offering !  So onward into the visual story!

This image of an older sister frantically searching her mother’s purse for something is very active and cute.  Feels like a story, that’s for sure! We can easily see what is happening and meet the characters who seem solid and ‘real’ within this style.  Of course we’re drawn to that WONDERFUL hair of the older sister (younger working on it!) which seems to express the ‘feel’ of her personality I suspect AND the frantic situation. I was glad to notice also that the characters in both illustrations are consistently drawn and expressed.  That is so important for books.

I do have a couple of questions about this first piece…. I love that the  tongue  is sticking out of her mouth as that increases the ‘frantic.’ But it really isn’t as clear to me that is what it is? I hope so! Also the composition of the page seems very ‘right-side’ heavy… the dresser, purse and leaning of both kids is there. I wondered if maybe there could be one of the illustrator’s wonderful patterns under the girls to give a horizon line (sense of place…not always necessary of course…) and to better weight the image across the page.  just a thought…

Here I suspect the kids are still searching (the looking glass) but we’re distracted by whatever the baby is doing with sister’s hair?  Maybe an actual search would be clearer? (or make what she is  doing clearer?) This threw me off from the tempo of the story.  I just love the artists patterns and texture use in this image however. There is no perspective used or much dimension to background things at all, but it works really well to my eye.

I do find the texture of the sister very ‘saturated’ with her color of skin and hair….it might be my reproduction, but I’d be careful to keep it all clean and easy to see. Using more saturation helps the two kids stand out from the furniture and back ground well.  The use of the bold solid back to the bookcase and side table seems to balance them and the composition also, but didn’t distract me.  I did find I was more aware of the use of line here than in the first image however. It works in colors that blend generally, though the baby’s outfit seems too evenly outlined to me comparatively…boots maybe too. Line, and it’s weight, is a very powerful tool in illustration, as is color and texture.  One has to use it very purposefully.

The artist has set up the two characters and the situation nicely with these two images.  When I suggest to artists to include “a couple of consecutive story images” with their on-line and portfolio samples, that is JUST what I have in mind!  It tells the art buyer SO SO much about what you can do and what you are likely to do for them. Helps them hire you!  Thank you [Katie} for sharing with us today and helping us all on our kid lit journey!

Thank you, Chris for taking the time to review Katie’s illustrations. You thoughts were very informative.

Below is a little bit about The CAT Agency:

The CAT Agency, Inc. is the first mother/daughter agency in the business! A trained artist herself with a BA in Fine Art, Chris Tugeau has been a pioneer in the children’s illustration industry for over 25 years. Since opening her own agency in 1994, Chris has enjoyed representing many talented artists, and has been an active part of the illustration community; writing and presenting for SCBWI regions around the country. She is also the author of SCBWI Illustrator Guidelines. A veteran artist and rep, Chris is an advocate for ethical fairness and the bright future of children’s publishing. She’s also a mother of 3, a grandmother to 8, and best friend to husband, Bill.

With a degree in English/Journalism and over a decade of experience in various creative fields, Christy offers a different perspective to the agency, while maintaining the enthusiasm and love that her mother brings to the industry. Aside from writing, her interests include seaside escapes, very hot coffee and pitbulls named Gertie.

And of course, grandchildren/children, Billie & Finnegan, are The CAT Agency’s resident experts and critics. Billie has over 5 years of experience in the world, and has formed a deep love of unicorn literature and all things Pink/Purple/anything-licious. Finn boasts a robust background in cars and trucks, with a specific expertise in MR. TIGER GOES WILD. Billie currently enjoys using every crayon in the box, while Finn likes to spend his free time dancing to The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s theme).

Here is the link to The Cat Agency:

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thank you so much, Kathy, for orchestrating this opportunity! Thank you, Chris, for such helpful comments! I really appreciate you taking the time to review my illustrations!


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