Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 18, 2020

Illustrator Saturday – Rebecca Green

photo by Alex Crawford

My name is Rebecca but you can just call me Becca. I’m an illustrator, painter, and author whose work has found a home in children’s and middle grade publishing, editorial illustration, and fine art galleries. I also love experimenting with sculpture, lettering, and design and use an array of traditional materials including gouache, colored pencil, ink, and cut paper.

Hometown: Owosso, Michigan, USA
Current City: Osaka, Japan
Family: Three siblings
Truest Season: Autumn
Lifeblood: Coffee
Favorite Scent: Fresh kneaded eraser
Cherished Children’s Book: Boney Legs by Joanna Cole
Current Color Obsession: Periwinkle
Dessert Addiction: Brownies x1000
Creative Outlet: Cooking new recipes
Dream Project: Stop-motion set building
Strength: Improvisation
Weakness: Overthinking

My husband Matt and I have spent time living and working in Michigan, Arizona, Colorado, and Tennessee and are now enjoying a stint in Osaka, Japan. We have two precious animal babies, Mori and Junie B, and it’s my dream to someday live on a farm smothered in animals. Perhaps I’ll even learn how to garden and can my own vegetables.

A few of my lovely clients include: Tundra Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Simon & Schuster, Schwartz & Wade, Viking Press, Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, Annick Press, Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers, Kids Can Press, Frankie, Wall Street Journal, Flow Magazine, Meijer, Sal Oppenhiem, Amnesty International, Portland Alternative Dwellings, Amtrak, CraftSanity Magazine.

Here is Becca discussing her process:

And here are the pictures: These are some of the process images for the illustrations for Madame Saqui.

Researching fashion in late 18th century Paris.

One of the first renditions of Marguerite.

The finalized character studies of the Lalanne family.

The sketches were created digitally in procreate.

This is the sketch of the opening spread.

After the sketches were approved, I tried many different options to figure out exactly what style and colors to use in the final illustrations.

Here’s an example of one of the styles I tried. This was done in colored pencil.

This one was created in gouache, colored pencil, and water-soluble crayons. It was a failed attempt but I loved the movement in it.

This one was it! When I finally figured out what I wanted the illustrations to feel like.

The Finished Illustration

Details of Final.

Another detail. I loved using this periwinkle color throughout the book!

How long have you been illustrating?

About ten years.

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

In college, one of the first clients I had was Grand Rapids Community College. The designer there found my work at an art fair and hired me to create promo materials for the school, a campus map, and even an ice sculpture design.

Did you go to school to study art? If so, where and what did you study?

Kendall College of Art and Design. I graduated in 2010 with a BFA in Illustration with a minor in Graphic Design.

What do you feel helped you develop your style?

Constantly creating. And my style continues to evolve, so I don’t see it as an arrival or an end point. Thats important.

What caused you to move to Japan?

My husband and I moved a lot in the US – he’s a high school English teacher so both our jobs are pretty mobile. We wanted to move overseas before settling somewhere in the US and he’d always dreamed of living here. I didn’t know much about the country but I’ve fallen in love with Japan more than I could have ever imagined.

Have you noticed any Japanese influences show up in your illustrations?

Absolutely. I think there is a playfulness and naiveté in the artwork here that I don’t really see so much in the US in my particular industry. Technical aspects fall away and childlike drawings are celebrated. I also am drawn to the presentation and care of things here, as well as all the vertical lines in the architecture.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate children’s books?

I don’t know if it was a clear decision or marker, but I started illustrating books full time in 2015.

How many picture books have you illustrated?

7 Picture Books

Was A Princesinha, the first picture book you illustrated?

The first book I illustrated was Little Women for Folio Society. A Princesinha was the second book I illustrated.

How did you get that contract?

The art director saw an illustration I’d done for an exhibition in Denver and contacted me to illustrate it.

Was THE UNICORN IN THE BARN the first middle grade book you illustrated?

Yes.

 

How many middle grade books have you illustrated?

Maybe 3 or 4

Were you hired to only create the cover for LOVE TO EVERYONE?

Yes, the cover and the frontispiece.

You illustrated a middle grade book titled, HOW TO BE A GOOD CREATURE (SEPT. 2018). It looks like you have illustrated a picture book by the same author with the same publisher, titled Becoming a Good Creature is coming out this September. Is it a full color picture book and did you use any of the illustration from the mg book?

Yes, How To Be A Good Creature was actually published as an adult title. It was such a joy to work on. Kate, our editor, is the same editor from The Unicorn In The Barn and she’s one of my favorite people to work with. Sy Montgomery was such a gem to work with too – she’s incredible.  She wrote the picture book version, which as you mentioned comes out in the Fall. It’s a completely different book artwise. We did not reuse anything from the first book. Instead, the picture book contains full color paintings, more images of Sy as a small girl, and even new animals not seen in the first book. I’m really excited about the artwork for the picture book version, it’s quite lively.

A few weeks ago, I featured MADAME SEQUI on Writing and Illustrating. How much research did you do to prepare to create those beautiful illustrations?

Thanks for featuring Madame Saqui! This is one of my favorite books I’ve ever worked on. I researched so much for that book. Figuring out the right style was also quite a task and it took forever. In the end though, I think we figured it out!

How many illustrations did you do for the 545 page book, THE GLASS TOWN GAME?

It’s been a while but I want to say 20 maybe? I did the cover, a frontispiece, and full pages plus spots. That was a fun one! That book has SO many colorful details. I actually made notes and sketches to provide full color but then realized it was in B/W. It would have been powerful in color I think.

I assume with all these illustrating jobs, you work full time as a freelance illustrator?

Yes. I have been freelancing since 2010. Before that, I had many jobs. IHOP, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, offices, coffee shops, etc. My last job was at a lovely little coffee shop called The Sparrows. It was scary quitting and while it was wobbly at first, it’s finally feeling stable.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s Magazines? If so, who?

I did some illustrations for Cricket, Illustoria and Bravery.

Do you have a studio in your house?

Currently in Japan yes – a simple desk in the dining room. Everywhere else I’ve lived, I’ve had a studio outside of my home. When we come back to the US, I look forward to that again. I enjoy having a studio away from home.

Have you ever tried illustrating a wordless picture book?

Nope!

 

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate a picture book?

Yes. My debut picture book How To Make Friends With A Ghost came out in 2017. I’m currently writing a lot and hope to work primarily on my own books in the future. I love illustrating for other authors but working on my own content in much more rewarding.

 

How did you connect with Nicole at Tugeau2 Illustration Agency? And how long have you been with her?

I connected with Nicole in 2012 through one of her other artists. It took a couple of years for my portfolio to develop (and a 2 year stint in editorial work through another agent) but once my children’s work progressed, we reconnected and signed on to work together. We started working together in early 2016.

Is working with a self-published author to illustrate their book something you would consider?

Not at this point, no. Working with a publisher is better for many reasons. That being said, if there was an extraordinary circumstance, maybe, but I can’t imagine what that would be.

What do you think is your biggest success?

I think having my picture book published and translated into other languages was something I could have never dreamt of. It means a lot to me.

What is your favorite medium to use?

Gouache

Has that changed over time?

Yes. I’m always changing materials. Even if that means mixing them.

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

Yeah, I use procreate on the iPad sometimes.

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

Not a specific amount of time, no. Sometimes a project takes weeks. Sometimes something beautiful is born in an hour.

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

If needed, yes.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Of course. It’s made it easier for all of us.

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

Yes. I’m working towards those now (see next question and answer).

What are you working on now?

I’m writing educational tutorials as well as my own stories. I’m also spending time pushing beyond my comfort zone. I hope to loosen up in my artwork and do more things I love – which means stepping away from picture books a bit. I want to do more in-person collaborations, installations, more multi-faceted tactile projects.

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.

My material advice is simply to try a new material often. Even if it’s one color of a new marker. See how your current materials mix with one another.

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

Success looks different for everyone so it’s important to keep from comparing ourselves to others. Everyone has their own timeline. If we can accept our personal reality and story, have compassion towards ourselves and others, and produce A LOT of work despite fear and vulnerability, I think wonderful things can happen.

Thank you Becca for sharing your talent and expertise with us. Make sure to let us know your future successes. You have done a good job using social media to show off your talent, which is so important for an illustrtator. To see more of Becca’s work, you can visit her at:

Website: http://myblankpaper.com/

Tugueau2 Agency: https://tugeau2.com/rebecca-green

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rebeccagreenillustration/?hl=en

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

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing your work, Becca! I love your rich, muted palettes.

    Like

  2. I feel like I just read many, many different stories! I love how your artwork tells a story. Thanks for sharing! Best wishes!

    Like

  3. Gorgeous work, and a very distinctive style that bleeds through all these different books. Lovely!

    Like

  4. Perfectly charming. I particularly like the illustration with all the different vehicles driven by cute little animals. Thanks for an interesting and beautiful post.

    Like


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