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Recent Blog Posts


Hedgehog expressions and his wifeyHedgehog expressions and his wifey


February 15, 2017

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How lovable children’s book characters are created

 Creating  children’s book characters kids will love… Who does not love hedgehogs?  They are just adorable. Reading Grimm’s “The Hedgehog and the Hare”,  I was energized  to begin some sketches and see what he might look like. I want to create a children’s book character that kids will love. So, I want to share my […]


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Valentine's DayValentine's Day


February 14, 2017

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

This illustration is from the children’s book Season’s series  entitled “Winter Wonderland” written by Debbie Estrem available at Amazon – Winter Wonderland  Romans 5:8 But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


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Little elephant in the principal's officeLittle elephant in the principal's office


February 10, 2017

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11 Tips on How to Find an Illustrator for Your Children’s Book

Help! I need to find a children’s book illustrator! Here’s some helpful information on finding the right illustrator for your children’s book, website links and tips to consider when reaching out to an artist. So you have done the diligent work of writing a children’s book and are considering self-publishing. Where do you begin to search […]


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Lucky DogLucky Dog


February 9, 2017

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Playful Pen Sketches

Playful pen sketching can help you to create memorable characters. Here are some lose pen sketches I did for a Camp Lucky Dog design project. I tried to show the joy and emotion in the dogs expressions. How? Fooling around with the characters features size, adjusting their placement and distance from each other, can help […]


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February 7, 2017

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Testing


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Gallery

January 10, 2017

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12 Tips for the Aspiring Artist to help you jump into a children’s book illustration career

Are you a new children’s book illustrator? Want to learn what to do to get your illustration business off the ground? Here’s 12 tips that can help jump into a children’s book illustration career.

In 2007, I was ready to give up children’s book illustration work and get a regular 9-5 job. Though I had illustrated 4 children’s books, and had submitted sample packets to many publishing houses, I was not connecting with art directors. Because I sent reply cards in my sample packets, a few made their way back to me promising to “keep my samples on file” but little to nothing came of it. I was frustrated. A friend suggested I reach out to an illustrator, who that had illustrated 60 books (at the time) to see what I might do to get my illustration career a re-start. He evaluated my work, and web presence, with was nil, and kindly offered to help me, creating my first web blog that would serve as a website – this was just what was  needed to get my work seen and a way for people to contact me about book projects.

1. Create a website

The web is the go-to place for finding an illustrator. As a new illustrator, you’ll need a presence.

There are plenty of free blog sites that can serve as a website, e.g. Blogger,Weebly, and WIX etc. Because web blogs are created for ease of use, causing more frequent posts, this attracts web crawlers (spiders), which are software programs the search engines such as Google use to find out what’s on the web and whether it’s been recently updated. You can also consider creating a website on WordPress, they offer many free tutorials, and videos to walk you through the process, if you have a little computer savvy.

Blogs are great for new illustrators when first starting out because they’re:

Free
Easy to create and maintain with lots of templates options to chose from
Uncomplicated for illustrators to post art and contact information

The more frequently you post, the more often spiders will pick up your content and know you keep it fresh, and that will help you to create a greater web presence. As you move up in Bing and Google rankings, your site will be seen by more potential clients.

2. Your new illustrator blog/website needs the basics

A new website should include a brief intro, your bio, and show examples of your work. Your photo is not as important as the illustration work that you create, so keep it minimal. Also, make sure you include contact information, i.e. email and phone number. Scan illustrator websites and see what elements that might work best for your particular style.

Keep it simple, but make it look great! What makes your work unique? That’s your focus.

3. Increase your visibility on other sites

There are a number of illustration portfolio websites out there that welcome new illustrators to post profiles, including Best-Childrens-books.com (which is exclusive to children’s book illustrators. Check out my listing on it) as well as Illustration Directories that are paid memberships.   But hear this: don’t copy and paste your profile all over the web! The search engines consider that spam and are likely to lower all your rankings. Write an original profile for each site you post to.

4. Create a price list.

You may not want to post a price list on your blog, but have one available that you can send as an attachment in an email upon request. Just because you may be new to the business, does not mean your work should be free. Your artwork has value, price it based on your experience and skill level.

5. Offer a great service

Create good art. Wonderful work speaks for itself. Nothing is better, than providing the beautiful illustrations your clients want and need. Whether a new illustrator or old pro, the person most likely to hire you is someone who has hired you before, or through a referral. Keep the work coming by over-delivering and make clients a!

6. ALWAYS work with a contract

List specifications for the project, a payment schedule, sketch and finished art delivery dates. Never go by memory. Always have the specs to refer back to.

7. Be a good listener

Taking the time to listen to your client, their needs, and vision will give you a good idea of what’s important to them for the project. Learning to take that information and combine it with your skill, experience and creative mind’s eye is key to creating book work that will meaningful to you and your client. Being a good listener will also save time and help you avoid wasted work which will be a real asset and value to your business.

8. Keep deadlines

Honor your commitments and deadlines, and if a problem arises that you cannot fix, be up front and own it.

9. Keep growing and learning

Try not to get into a rut! Study trends, as well as what other illustrators are doing. There’s more than one way to illustrate a story. Your versatility will be appreciated by clients. Join an illustration society like SCBWI, Society of Illustrators, and AOI.  You can find Illustration critique groups on Facebook, Linkedin and Lisa J. Michaels has a nice article on great crit groups, as well.

10. Be helpful – get connected with other illustrators

Know your strengths…and your weaknesses. Take a pass on jobs that do not suit you, referring the business to a fellow artist. Many times they will end up returning the favor. Each artist has a unique perspective and expression, we really are not in competition with one another. If you take the time to be part of the illustration community, you will find they are very supportive of one another and willing to help new artists- so get connected!

11. A great way to over-deliver and encourage repeat business

As a courtesy, you may even want to help the author by offering to take a look at printer proofs, making sure they are true to color, that there is no missing text, etc., by matching them against your layouts. Yes, this does take time but authors really appreciate it, and you may catch something important that was missed. Remember, you and the client share a byline, so you want it right for both of you!

12. Follow-up

Follow up on art sent, art received, and payments sent and received too. Good communication is a great strength and offers comfort and clarity to clients, especially to new authors.

 


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AcclaimAcclaim

I have been so lucky to work with Kim.

It’s actually refreshing to work with someone who has the ability to take your ideas and create what you envision. Her extreme talent gives so much creative freedom. Ok, do I think she’s super woman in this illustration market? Yes, I do!!

Laura Brigger

2017-01-10T18:39:07+00:00

Laura Brigger

It’s actually refreshing to work with someone who has the ability to take your ideas and create what you envision. Her extreme talent gives so much creative freedom. Ok, do I think she’s super woman in this illustration market? Yes, I do!! https://www.picturekitchenstudio.com/testimonials/i-have-been-so-lucky-to-work-with-kim-on-one-book-and-now-starting-a-second/

It’s been a joy and a privilege to work with such a talented illustrator

There is a certain magical quality that she brings to her work – emotional nuances, energy and verve – that bring characters and settings to life. Her cover art is particularly inspired, communicating the essence of the story in a seemingly effortless way.

Alarna Rose Gray,

2017-01-10T18:49:56+00:00

Alarna Rose Gray,

There is a certain magical quality that she brings to her work – emotional nuances, energy and verve – that bring characters and settings to life. Her cover art is particularly inspired, communicating the essence of the story in a seemingly effortless way. https://www.picturekitchenstudio.com/testimonials/its-been-a-joy-and-a-privilege-to-work-with-such-a-talented-illustrator/

Kim made me feel comfortable from day one.

This was my first endeavor at writing books. I wasn’t sure what to expect and how the process would go. Kim was always quick to respond to my questions and always made me feel comfortable and secure in my decisions. I appreciate her talent and work ethic beyond words.

Debra  Lenser

2017-01-10T18:37:37+00:00

Debra  Lenser

This was my first endeavor at writing books. I wasn’t sure what to expect and how the process would go. Kim was always quick to respond to my questions and always made me feel comfortable and secure in my decisions. I appreciate her talent and work ethic beyond words. https://www.picturekitchenstudio.com/testimonials/kim-made-me-feel-comfortable-from-day-one/

She is a joy to work with

…and uses her imagination to add playful details to delight children. I cannot wait until my second story is perfected and ready for her to work her magic again!!

Anita Turnage

2017-01-10T18:47:14+00:00

Anita Turnage

…and uses her imagination to add playful details to delight children. I cannot wait until my second story is perfected and ready for her to work her magic again!! https://www.picturekitchenstudio.com/testimonials/she-is-a-joy-to-work-with/

I love, love love my illustrations!

She is very patient with people. I have worked with others and they do not match her professionalism and love for what she does. I have other books and she will be the person I will be working with. If you want an illustrator for your book look no further.

Evelyn Gresham

2017-01-10T18:46:10+00:00

Evelyn Gresham

She is very patient with people. I have worked with others and they do not match her professionalism and love for what she does. I have other books and she will be the person I will be working with. If you want an illustrator for your book look no further. https://www.picturekitchenstudio.com/testimonials/i-love-love-love-my-illustrations/

It’s such a joy to see my story brought to life in such a beautiful way.

Kim is above and beyond in every way. She is extremely knowledgable about the process of putting together a children’s picture book. All throughout, Kim has been professional and right on schedule. She has continued helping during the layout process. Anyone who is lucky enough to get her will be more than pleased.

Terry John Barto

2017-01-10T18:42:33+00:00

Terry John Barto

Kim is above and beyond in every way. She is extremely knowledgable about the process of putting together a children’s picture book. All throughout, Kim has been professional and right on schedule. She has continued helping during the layout process. Anyone who is lucky enough to get her will be more than pleased. https://www.picturekitchenstudio.com/testimonials/its-such-a-joy-to-see-my-story-brought-to-life-in-such-a-beautiful-way/

I was so thrilled at how Kim managed to create the characters

They were better than I could of hoped for. As a first time author the whole experience should of been daunting but Kim made it the most amazing and enjoyable experience. I can’t wait to work with Kim again, what a super kind and talented lady.

Audrey Moore

2017-01-10T18:40:35+00:00

Audrey Moore

They were better than I could of hoped for. As a first time author the whole experience should of been daunting but Kim made it the most amazing and enjoyable experience. I can’t wait to work with Kim again, what a super kind and talented lady. https://www.picturekitchenstudio.com/testimonials/i-was-so-thrilled-at-how-kim-managed-to-create-the-characters-better-than-i-could-of-hoped-for/

It has been a great joy and a blessing to work with Kim.

She is a true artist at heart, sensitive to Holy Spirit’s leading. She considered my input as the author yet remained faithful to her artistic vision. She is a consummate professional and a very talented artist whose love for God is evident in her work. If you are looking for a superb illustrator for your children’s book, look no farther than Kim Sponaugle. You will not be disappointed.

MaryAnn Diorio

2017-01-10T18:44:59+00:00

MaryAnn Diorio

She is a true artist at heart, sensitive to Holy Spirit’s leading. She considered my input as the author yet remained faithful to her artistic vision. She is a consummate professional and a very talented artist whose love for God is evident in her work. If you are looking for a superb illustrator for your children’s book, look no farther than Kim Sponaugle. You will not be disappointed. https://www.picturekitchenstudio.com/testimonials/it-has-been-a-great-joy-and-a-blessing-to-work-with-kim/

I feel she is a total Godsend to me.

She has been very professional, very helpful, and very supportive. She managed to create characters and scenery that were exact in telling the story and drawing in the reader. I feel she easily understood the picture and story that I hoped to tell.

Debbie Estrem

2017-01-10T18:48:37+00:00

Debbie Estrem

She has been very professional, very helpful, and very supportive. She managed to create characters and scenery that were exact in telling the story and drawing in the reader. I feel she easily understood the picture and story that I hoped to tell. https://www.picturekitchenstudio.com/testimonials/i-feel-she-is-a-total-godsend-to-me/


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