Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 24, 2021

Illustrator Saturday – Fanny Liem


I am an illustrator with more than seven years of experience. I have worked with a wide range of clients from around the world. I am an excellent listener, which helps to understand the requirements of my clients.

I was born and raised in Indonesia. Since I was a kid, I love to draw. My passion for storytelling and illustration started since the first time I grabbed picture books, which were given to me by my uncle. When I am not drawing, I love watching movies and listening to country music.

On the technical side, I possess vivid imagination that helps me to provide illustrations for the text, ideas, and situations. I am more than comfortable with the use of software related to creating illustrations.

Here is Fanny discussing her process:

Usually I look for inspiration first through Pinterest or Instagram before I start drawing. I’m looking for some interesting perspectives then I try to sketch roughly to plan the composition. After everything looks good,
I will start making the character design then just add some details for some objects and backgrounds. I really enjoy when find some idea for the details. For color planning, I will try some color scheme, moods and then try to mix some possible combinations to make a color thumbnail. After all look good and harmony, I start applying it to the sketch and then add the details like shadow and light.
Color palette
Refining detail

Finished Illustration

Here are a few book covers:


Have you always lived in Indonesia?

Hi!  Thank you so much for having me! Yes, I have always lived in Indonesia

What was the first thing you illustrated that you were paid for?

My first illustration that paid for were greeting cards.

How long have you been illustrating?

I love draw when I was kid but doing illustrating as a job have been about 8 years.

What and when was the first piece of art you created for money?

I ‘m not remember exactly when, but first piece of art I created for money were Greeting cards.

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

No, I didn’t have chance go to art school. After I graduated from high school, I had to start looking for a job to help support my family finance.

Have you taken any classes or courses on illustrating?

Yes, I took some classes from online courses.

What made you decide to illustrate Children’s picture books?

I fell in love with children’s books when I was kid. I was often given a gift of children’s picture books from my uncle. I never thought to make it into a job. So one time when I was in the bookstore I saw a lot of children’s books on display and I tried to write down all the names of the authors of children’s books. I make some portfolio and wrote emails to some of the authors that I had listed and apparently I got some positive responses and I was given a chance to illustrate their books. Since then, I decided to illustrate Children’s picture book.

Did you take any online courses to help you navigate the world of children’s illustrating?Yes, I did. I take online course at SVS and Domestika to help me.

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

I work as a Lay outer and Graphic Designer in the Chinese newspaper media at Indonesia.


Was The ‘In’ Crowd (Life With Stef Book 1) your first illustrated book?

No It wasn’t. My first illustrated book was “The Not So Scary Monster”.

How did that opportunity come about?

I post my portfolio and got from Elance site.

When I checked Amazon, I found nineteen books listed. Were all of them picture books?

Most are picture books and some are middle grade book covers

It looks like all of them were written by self-published authors. How did that all start?

Yes they are, I started my first jobs from Elance and Odesk platform which has now merged become Upwork.

How did you market yourself to authors who wanted to self-publish?

I usually post my portfolio on Upwork site or some group about children’s book in Facebook group. Behance also helped me connect with some self-publish author.

Do you feel living in Indonesia hindered you in any way?

Back then I feel that way but now things have changed. We are very easy to connect with people in other countries on internet and social media so I think that is no hindered in any way now.

In 2016, you had 6 books published that you Illustrated. Was it hard to illustrate that many books in ne year?

Yes, I remember that year I finished illustrating about 10 books. That’s really crazy and stressful. I even don’t remember how can I do that.. Hahah..

You have just joined The Cat Agency. How did you make that connection with Christy?

There is a time I have submitting to many agency but I always get rejected. Christy hasn’t accepted me either at first but she’s willing to take her time to give me some directions and reviews. She is a very kind and caring person. I feel very lucky when she finally offer me representation after I have changed my style direction.

Have you ever visited the USA?

No, I haven’t. I really hope one day I can visit USA. USA is my dream country to visit and I’m a huge fan of America country music.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own children’s book?

Yes, I have. That is my goal.

Are you still interested in illustrating a book for an author who wants to self-published?

Of course, I am still interested and I am still illustrating books for self-publish author.

Have you done any illustrating for corporations?

Yes, I have illustrating some children’s book for corporations now.

Do you take pictures or do research before you illustrate a book?

Yes, I do. Pinterest helped me the most to do research and find my inspiration.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines?

Yes, I just finished the illustration for Highlights and Club House Jr. Magazine.

What do you think helped develop your style?

I think I always inspired by Artists that I admire a lot their works like Poly Bernatene, Daniela Volpari, Eda Kaban and many many artists that helped and inspired me to develop my style.


Do you have a studio in your house?

No, I don’t have because my house conditions so only 1 table and chair in the family room for me to work.. haha.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate you own book?

Yes, I have. That is my goal.

What do you think is your biggest success?

I’m just grateful to be able to do what I love to becoming children’s book illustrator.

What materials and/or tools do you use to create your work?

Mostly I use digital work.

Has that changed over time?

I don’t think so.

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

Yes, I have.


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

Not exactly spend specific time but usually I spend most of the day on my craft.

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

Yes, I do. Pinterest helped me the most to do research and find my inspiration.

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

Yes, I really wish can write and publish my own book one day.

What are you working on now?

I am illustrating some children’s book now for Macmillan and Scholastic project.


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.

I’ve tried using watercolors but only for fun. Mostly I use digital to work a project. Tablet that I’m using is Cintiq Pro 16 and I am satisfied using this tablet.

Any words of wisdom for new illustrators?

Don’t afraid to fail, allow yourself to explore and never compare yourself to the other artist’s art because it will make us so frustrating but inspired from their works. Just keep learning and you will see how much you grow.

Fanny, thank you for taking the time to answer the interview questions and showing us your process. Please let me know about your future books and successes so I can share them with everyone. 

To see more of Fanny’s work, you can visit her at:






Talk tomorrow,



  1. what wonderful work, fanny. i love that she is mostly self-taught and found a way to live her passion.


  2. Oh, gosh, these are cute. Every single one is simply enchanting. Thanks for a beautiful post.


  3. I’m in awe of your many, many gorgeous illustrations. Thank you for sharing!


  4. I loved reading your interview, Fanny! I had an aunt Fanny. 🙂 Beautiful work! Congrats and best wishes!


  5. Beautiful work, Fanny and great interview! Thanks for sharing.


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