Today, I welcome Kit Grady to Friday’s Interesting People. I don’t know how long I’ve been following Kit's blog, but I am a fan of her work. You see, I draw a bit myself (like a kindergartener) and there are artists in my family and I love art. OK? Those are my reasons.
Kit is an over the top—great illustrator AND she is an author, as well. I hope you’ll notice some of her illustrations that I may have (with permission) sprinkled along the way.
JW: You began drawing at a young age. Was there a moment when you realized your drawing/sketching was above average? (Tell us about that.)
Kit: I can’t remember when I have not drawn. My mom has kept lot of my early drawings for me. Some good and some not so good. I think her encouragement has had a strong impression on me. The one time she was not pleased with my work, was when I took a big red crayon and drew a life size person holding a jump rope in one hand on my brick house and drew the rope all the way around the house (on the house) to the life size person’s other hand. I was given lots of paper after that.
JW: Do you have formal training in art or are you self trained to be an artist?
Kit: I attended Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, majoring in commercial art for several years, but later I continued to learn and practice on my own. I have played around with cartoons, children’s activity pages for newspapers and had a line of greeting cards before really focusing on children’s illustration. My first book was written, just to have a vehicle to illustrate. Now, I have fallen in love with writing too. But one never stops practicing and improving their craft, so I try to draw or write every day.
JW: How many books have you illustrated thus far?
Kit: I believe about fifteen, total. I illustrated the three books that I wrote: A Necklace for Jiggsy with Guardian angel Publishing, Just on More Mom, with Kaeden Books, and Mollie the Merbaby with Meegenius, an ebook on itunes. I have also illustrated for several private authors. One author, Tracey Delio, has this loveable cat and has written a series of three books about LOUIE V. I have enjoyed illustrating for her. I am a staff Illustrator for Guardian Angel Publishing and have completed about ten books for them with many of their talented authors.
JW: Aside from your day job, what’s your daily schedule like for your craft?
Kit: I try to work 10am -2pm on email, marketing and illustration work. After a break, I try to write for a couple hours. In the middle, I’m walking the dog, buying groceries and doing a little gardening. I will be planning a story as I’m cleaning. Sometimes I do not get as much done as I would like, but I think that is normal for everyone.
JW: Where do you get your ideas for characters?
Kit: I think all I’ve experienced, whether it is just life’s craziness, nature’s colors, a grin on an opossum, seeing a lonely child, or a dripping ice cream cone; everything contributes to my views of this world and it somehow finds its way into my art. Even, when I’m not really looking for ideas, they pop in and I have a small notebook just to jot down ideas and thoughts and possible titles, before I forget about them.
JW: What are you working on right now?
Kit: I am working on a middle grade novel and I’m up to 14,000 words. It is a story of a young girl who befriends old ladies at a nursing home and finds herself, trying to save an endangered species. It sounds like a lot to cram in, but so far it is working well. This so different than writing a picture book and limiting word count to less than 800 words. I’m also working on some illustrations to mail out for a promotions campaign. Sketching and drawing are always part of my works in progress.
JW: Ok, Kit, let’s talk childhood. As a child, did you have a dog, a cat or an imaginary friend?
Kit: I have always had animals and I think that is why I really love to draw animal a bit more than people. We had dogs, cats, hamsters, turtle, newts, rabbits and chickens. Each named, of course, even the 10 chickens. My first book was about one of my favorite pets, Jiggsy. It wasn’t hard to write because that was exactly how he would have acted.
JW: Were you: a. Loner b. Leader c. Bossy d. Follower e. Shy
Kit: I think I was shy as a child. I tried to be the comedian of my friends growing up. As I think about it, I’m not sure how that combination would work. Ha!
JW: Now think back. What did you believe, as a child, that you found out later was not correct?
Kit: Ha, I did think all cats were girls and all dogs were boys, I never thought too much about the stork!
JW: Let’s talk random stuff. Neat handwriting or “I should have been a physician” handwriting?
Kit: Not so neat. I print a lot.
JW: Coffee, Tea, both or neither?
Kit: Gosh, I love coffee. I start my day with coffee. I have to stop about 1pm or I do not sleep well.
JW: Ok, imagine this: You wake up one morning and you have become one of your illustrated characters. Who would you like to be and what would your day be like.
Kit: I would love to be my Mollie, the Merbaby, and spend the day playing in the sea with all my friend sea creatures, like Silly Fish and Sharp Tooth. I would love to be surrounded with bright beautiful colors, bubbles and able to swim all day. What a life.
I would like to thank you, Teresa, for having me on your Journaling Woman Blog. I have really enjoyed being here.
JW: Thank YOU, Kit. I’ve really enjoyed having you here on JW.
Kit Grady is a children’s illustrator and author, who lives in North Carolina in the United States. She began drawing at an early age. Kit’s clients include The United Methodist Publishing House, Kaeden books and is a staff illustrator at the Guardian Angel Publishing. She won first place in the 2011 SCBWI Carolina’s Children Picture Book Manuscript contest where her picture book is currently under revisions with a publishing house. She has an eBook released by Meegenius Publishers titled Mollie the Merbaby , where Kit is author and illustrator. She has a long list of credits as illustrator for other author books, as well. Kit Grady can be found at www.kitgrady.com, www.kitgrady.blogspot.com and on Twitter and Facebook. You can purchase her eBook here.
Questions for you: Are you following Kit? Do you like to draw? Is your talent better than mine (the kindergartener)?