Awe Inpsiring Interview: K.C. Snider, Illustrator

9:55 AM Posted by Donna McDine

When I was bestowed the honor of becoming an “angel” at Guardian Angel Publishing and reached the stage of studying the portfolios of the GAP illustrators I immediately felt a connection to the artistic abilities of K.C. Snider. Not to say it was an easy task since all the illustrators at GAP are quite talented in their own right. Come along on this awe inspiring interview of the prolific works of K.C. Snider.

DMc: K.C., you have quite the accomplished illustrating career. How do you balance your many different projects?

KC: Well, my publicist makes me take a ‘fine arts’ break now and then. We sometimes get inspired to do a particular work to enter into a special show or contest. Usually when I’m working on a book, I work on one at a time. But sometimes two at a time especially if one is particularly complicated and needs a lot of research, doing a fun one interspersed helps to keep my inspiration piqued.

DMc: Are you normally hired by the publishing house or author for your illustrating talents?

KC: Actually, the first book I illustrated was “The Christmas Angel,” for my good friend, Mary Jean Kelso. She had written this story many years ago and couldn’t get it published so she thought that if it was illustrated, it might have a better chance at publication. Unbeknownst to me, she sent it to Lynda Burch at Guardian Angel Publishing who did accept it. I was still busy doing my Western fine arts and hadn’t really thought about pursuing more illustration jobs, but Lynda liked my work and approached me to illustrate Mayra Calvani’s “The Magic Violin.” I was thrilled to have another project for GAP. From there, it has just snowballed with GAP. I do not accept any other projects at this time except from GAP.

DMc: Please share with us your break through moment of your career.

KC: Keep in mind that I’ve had a long career in fine arts prior to illustration. So I would say my biggest break through moment involves my fine art. I was in my first large juried show in Aspen, Colorado when I sold my first $1000 original painting. I had been doing small local shows up until then. Then I started doing lithographs and they sold for as much as my originals did in the beginning.

DMc: Do you conduct school visits? If yes, how is a typical visit structured?

KC: Yes, I do. Here in Redmond, the fourth grade students write and illustrate a book as part of their regular curriculum. As I got known as an illustrator, I was asked to give demonstrations to various classes. My publicist assists me. We use the flip books and I bring samples of the materials I work with. I show them how I work and then they ask lots and lots of questions. One of the students we spoke with last year won the Angel to Angel writing contest with GAP.

DMc: Do you have a favorite medium or style?

KC: I don’t have a favorite medium for my fine arts, but the illustrations are in gouache with some ink. Gouache is an opaque watercolor. My style is generally realism, but I also do cartooning.

DMc: Please name a couple of your favorite children’s illustrators. What intrigues you about them?

KC: No really ‘famous’ children’s illustrators come to mind, but I like Kit Grady, Samantha Bell and Kevin Collier, along with the other GAP artists. Kit’s work is really cute, Samantha’s is quite realistic and Kevin’s is nicely cartoonish.

My mentor for illustrating was Norman Rockwell, my all-time favorite.

DMc: How long does it take for you to illustrate a book?

KC: Generally, a month depending on have often my dog, Pooper Jack, interrupts me. Mayra Calvani’s Frederico, the Mouse Violinst, took two months. I now have 15 books in publication with GAP, six pending publication and contracts signed for 11 more. I’m quite proud of my accomplishments with GAP.

DMc: A signature request I like to ask every author, illustrator, editor, etc., I interview is for the individual to share with us a tidbit from their lives that the reader will find either humorous or surprising. K.C., can you please share one with us?

KC: Probably one of the most memorable events in my art career was the day that my husband, Fred, put a knife through one of my canvases that I had just sold! Fred was tying the painting to an easel so that it would not blow over. He had a knife to cut the string and the knife slipped. He was absolutely mortified and devastated. So I lost a $2000 sale. The gallery I was with was not happy. But Fred has been so supportive of me that I really can’t complain. He does all my framing, helps pack and unpack at shows and does so much that I couldn’t do it without him.

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