Creating Art and Words
Konnilaree Sanders Author/Illustrator of Stories by Mom Children’s Books
I live in two creative worlds, writing and drawing. For me it is a constant battle of, am I writer who draws, or an artist who write? Several famous children’s authors/illustrators fall into the same category; Dr. Suess (Cat in the Hat+), Ludwig Bemelmans (Madeline), Richard Hefter (Sweet Pickles Series), Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar+), and more recently Mo Willems (Elephant and Piggie and Pigeon Series). For most people, they can instantly recognize their words and illustrations.
These are just a few names on a long list of Children’s literature. But, these are a few who I love for different reasons and influence my writing/drawing. I love Dr. Suess for his rhymes. I can’t help but want to write my books in rhyme. I love the character of Madeline. She is an endearing and strong character. The Sweet Pickles books address common social issues, which I emulate in my own books. Eric Carle has bright colorful illustrations. Plus The Very Hungry Caterpillar was my older daughter’s first favorite book. I love Mo Willems because he created my daughter’s next favorite series Elephant and Piggie. I love his humor. I am not nearly as funny, but I liked to add some silliness to my books.
I am still finding my style. I have published three books to date and it has been a constant learning experience and pushing the limits of my skills.
I have been drawing since I could hold a crayon. At five, my dream job was to be a Disney Imagineer. I loved drawing for the purpose of storytelling. As I grew, I dabbled in book creation. I was in love with the title illustrator before I could even spell it. As I learned more about writing and it became my second love. I won some young author awards and was given the opportunity to read my work in front of others. But, then school came and went and I fell into the accounting field. It was a completely noncreative profession but a profession that pays. I still remember when I was earning my degree; my English teacher returned one of my stories and asked what I was going to be when I grew up. When I responded accountant, he said that it was a waste of a talent. That always stuck with me. But, I kept counting numbers and doodled and wrote less.
When I left my job to be a stay-at- home-mom, I was able to dabble again. My skills were rusty, to say the least. I started doing children’s books for my kids. They loved the rudimentary stories and pictures. But, I never thought I could illustrate or write 28-32 full-color pages. But, I kept at it. Each book has been a little more defined and little improved. Here is an article I wrote on my experience writing Children’s Books, 400-Words.
My hope is that my books become someone else’s favorite book. I hope that it encourages kids to read, write, and draw. My website is dedicated to parents and children. My books can be used as a tool to address common issues like
separation anxiety, personal grooming, and communication. They are meant to be silly and relatable to kids. In addition to my books, I include free activities to keep kids engaged. Reading and creativity are so important. I wrote a post on this last November for Picture Book Month 5 Reasons Picture Books are Important I also try to include resources for authors, illustrators, and parents. But in reality, I do these things because I love it.
If you are considering writing/illustrating just remember it is your creative world. Do what your love. I love to rhyme, alliterations, and puns. I love personification and anthropomorphism. I love less is more drawings but admire those with a talent for realism. So roll your eye if you want to, this is what makes this fun for me. But, just as important keep following other illustrators and reading other authors. Love them, envy them, learn from them and always support them.