Liz Beatty

Liz Beatty

Liz Beatty Interview

Liz Beatty

Children's Illustrator

Describe your working technique and how you came to perfect it.

My process is a combination of digital of traditional methods. I start out by creating textures with a variety of materials, such as paints, pastels, gouache, and watercolor. Once I scan these onto my computer, I can manipulate and collage them into my illustrations however I think is necessary for the particular piece. I love the natural emotional quality that comes through traditional work, so it was important to me that I kept that as a part of my process. But while I was in school, I realized that I needed to be able to work quickly as well, which is where working with computer software has been a lifesaver for me. I wouldn't say that I've perfected it, as I'm still always experimenting with new mediums, and try to give myself room for my process to evolve and grow.

Do you keep a sketch book?

I do keep a sketchbook, but I mainly use it for rough thumbnails and planning out ideas and compositions. Most of the content in my sketchbook is just quick drawings, trying to get my ideas down on paper.

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How many times do you tend to draw a character until you are happy with it?

It really depends on the character. Sometimes I feel like I have clear idea of exactly what I want it to look like and I feel like I can nail it down pretty quickly. Other times, I can fill several pages of a sketchbook just drawing one character. Even when I feel like I've got it in the first couple drawings, I still try to push myself to do more. I always like to see how far I push a concept, and never necessarily want to go with the most obvious solution.

What does a typical day in the studio look like for you?

I usually listen to podcasts and have a cup of coffee with me. I make a to-do list first thing in the morning and just go from there. I find that I can get immersed in my work pretty easily, and enjoy working in my own space by myself. I'll sometimes need to step away and take a walk or focus on something else, so that I can come back to a project with a clearer head.

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What advice would you offer someone just starting out as a children’s illustrator?

Finding a creative community of other artists has been incredibly helpful for me. I've gotten so much helpful advice and have had some really great conversations and revelations just from talking with and getting to know other illustrators in my community. Starting out can be tricky for many reasons, but everyone in the industry was there at some point and has probably struggled with the same issues you may be dealing with.

When you are not drawing, how do you like to relax?

I like to be active and go outside when I can, whether it's running, biking, hiking, or doing yoga. I spend so much of my time when I'm working sitting a desk, that I need to be able to get up and move around to release stress and recalibrate. 

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Animals feature heavily in children’s books – do you have a pet?

I have two guinea pigs that live in my studio space with me. They're great companions and have such unique personalities that inspire some of the characters I draw! 

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