Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 25, 2021

Illustrator Saturday – Bethany Crandall

Bethany Crandall is an Illustrator and designer based in Burbank California. Bethany has worked illustrating children’s books and illustrating for magazines. She has also worked doing designs for children’s television. Bethany studied at Brigham Young University Idaho and graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in illustration. She enjoys drawing and reading. 

Here is Bethany discussing her process for the illustration below:

I had just gone on vacation to the beautiful Marble Colorado and I wanted to do an illustration that evoked the feeling I had while staying there. The cabin I stayed at was really unique so I wanted to start there.

Once I had a cabin design I liked I started designing a scene to go around it.

Once I had a scene that I liked I did a more detailed cleaned up drawing and really figured out where everything was going and how the perspective was working. You’ll notice I also did some small changes to the composition like removing the trees on the left to make the cabin more of a focal point. I try to really nail down the composition at this stage so I can just concentrate on color when it’s time to paint.

Next I do color comps. This many color comps is probably a bit excessive, but I really enjoy doing color comps, so I get a bit carried away.

Once you’ve done all that work all that’s left is for you to get in there and take your time painting everything.

Interview with Bethany Crandall:

How long have you been illustrating?

I have been illustrating since 2014 so about 7 years.

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

I did a work study at my local library my first year of college. They knew I did art and they thought it would be fun to put a mural in the children’s library. So as part of my work study I painted the mural. I was getting paid for the work study, so I guess technically that’s the first time I got paid for my art.

How did you decide to attend Brigham Young University to get your BFA? 

My parents attended Brigham Young University. My grades weren’t good enough to get into Brigham Young University but I was able to get into its sister school, Brigham Young University Idaho. Also, BYU Idaho is really cheep, tuition is only like $4,000 a semester, and that’s really great value for a fully accredited college. Also BYUI has a really amazing Art Program with some really great professors!

What was your major? Did you take any illustrating courses?

I majored in illustration with a Bachelor in Fine Arts so I took lots of illustration classes.

Did you plan to teach art after you graduated from BYU? 

I wasn’t planning on teaching, but the year I graduated college the art teacher position at my old high school was open. I decided to try my hand at teaching. After teaching for a year I realized I enjoy teaching, but not teaching at a high school.

Did BYU help you find work when you graduated?

I was able to make some good connections with friends from college that have gone on to do awesome things. I was able to start building a good network.

How did you end up teaching English as a second language while illustrating?

My mom was teaching English and they needed more teachers. It takes a long time before you can start making a living off of illustration so teaching English was a great job to supplement my income. It was really fulfilling work.

What type of work do you do at Universal Studios?

I was a face painter and caricature artist. It was really fun! I’d never done face painting before, but it wasn’t that hard to learn.

How did that opportunity come your way?

I saw the job on Indeed and applied.

Have you had a chance to illustrate a book, yet?

I’ve had the chance to illustrate an author’s self published children’s book, it was about starfish, it was fun!

I noticed you mention doing murals. What type of Murals have you done?

I have done a lot of community murals in my home town in Fort Morgan Colorado. I’ve done them for libraries and schools. 

What is a background painter?

A background painter is someone who paints backgrounds for animated television and film. The animation industry is interesting, there a a lot of very specialized jobs.

How did you connect with Chad Beckerman at The Cat Agency?

I did a few comic pages of Michael Buckley’s The Sisters Grimm just for fun. I think Michael saw it on social media and then told Chad to check out my work. So I’m really grateful that I made those pages and that people shared my work!

Do you still work on your portfolio?          

Yes! I think I’ll always be working on my portfolio. Every new piece and project is an opportunity to show what I can do!

Do you think you want to illustrate children’s books?    

Yeah, I think that illustrating children’s books would be really fun!      

What do you feel helped develop your style?

Hmm, a lot of the media I consumed growing up, things like Disney movies, Sailor Moon and Pokémon. I think things that interest you as a child have a very foundational effect on your art. Also all the things that I learned from my professors at BYUI.

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

I think it would be really cool to write and illustrate a picture book, but I know it’s a lot harder to write a good picture book than it looks. Still, I think I’d like to try.

Do you attend conferences where your can sell you art?

Sometimes, I have tabled at Salt Lake City FANX in the past. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also really fun! I would love to do more.

Have you ever tried to illustrate a wordless picture book? 

I’ve never tried that, it sounds like a really fun challenge. Growing up, I would read wordless picture books like the ones by David Weisner and Chris Van Allsburg over and over again, I loved them. It would be really special if I could make something as inspiring as those books were to me.

Have you illustrated anything for children’s magazines? 

I have done an illustration for The Friend Magazine. It was a really fun opportunity.

Do you have studio in your house? 

I don’t have a studio, but my bedroom is really big, so I’ve converted a corner of that into my studio. But mostly I just end up working on the couch.

Do you ever exhibit your artwork?

I have never had an exhibit of my artwork, unless you count putting it on social media.

Do you work full time as an illustrator? 

This past year I was able to start working full time as an illustrator!

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

I’ve done it before. I would say if someone wants to self publish, they should be really committed and do their research. I would want to work with that kind of client.

I know you will have many successes in your future, but what do you think is your biggest success so far?

Recently I was asked to do some commission work as a prop designer on Disney’s Big City Greens. So now I can claim that I’ve officially worked for Disney. Getting to work for Disney is a pretty big deal for an animation nerd like me, and it’s really fun working on a cartoon show!

What is your favorite medium to use?

I usually use Procreate on the iPad. I love that I can do so much while sitting on my couch, or do my work in the mountains if I want! I love the flexibility it gives me. For traditional media, I love watercolors. I’ve been using them since I was a kid and you can do some really cool stuff with them.

Has that changed over time?

In college I mostly used watercolor and Photoshop, but they both tie you down to being in one spot or having to carry around your supplies. When I got my IPad I was able to complete work so much easier anywhere I wanted! Also, Photoshop is very expensive.

What type of Graphic Drawing Tablet do you use when illustrating?

I use the IPad Pro and Procreate with the Apple Pencil.

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

Now that I’m working full time as an illustrator and making my living doing art I try to spend 40 hours a week. I want to treat it like I would any other job, I also try to make sure I’m making time for other things and not just drawing all day.

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

Yes, I try to research everything that I draw, being accurate is important to me. I’m not able to take as many pictures for personal references as I’d like, sometimes it’s impossible for me to take photos of certain creatures, poses, and places, but there are a lot of great resources for reference on the internet.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Definitely! I think almost all of my job opportunities have come from people finding me on the internet.

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

Well, one of them was working for Disney, but now that I’ve done that I would like to illustrate a graphic novel. I’m working on doing that too! I would love to make graphic novel adaptations of some of the books that I read as a kid!

What are you working on now?

Right now I am working on Big City Greens, and I’m talking with someone about possibly doing a graphic novel. We’ll see where it goes.

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.

If you want to get into digital art I would suggest you get an iPad. It’s a bit expensive, but in the long run it is much cheaper than getting a photoshop subscription and a drawing tablet. I do full illustrations on my iPad, so I personally think it’s just as good as photoshop.

Any words of wisdom for new illustrators? 

Believe in yourself. You may think that you’ll never be good enough for a certain job, but art is all about time, practice, and persistence. Just be persistent and eventually you’ll get there.

Bethany, 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.

You can visit Bethany using the following links:


Talk tomorrow,



  1. I love your use of light and dark! Thanks so much for sharing with us! Best wishes!


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