Saturday, September 16, 2017

Roberta "Magic Brush" Baird

Roberta Baird uses a big heap of magic when she creates her illustrations. I'm not sure where she finds this magic, but it's got to be in the art supply store somewhere! Roberta uses vividly bright colors and creates wonderfully fun characters in her scenes.

Books that Roberta has illustrated include: Margaret Hillert's "The Yellow Boat" and "The Runaway Pumpkin Pie Man" written by Vicky Town. I asked Roberta to join us for Smart Dummies so I could steal her magi... er so she could share a few of her secrets. So sit back and take a peak into Roberta's magical world.


Dani: How did you get started in illustration? 
Roberta: When my kids were really little, we would bring home stacks of books from our weekly library visit. While reading to them, I fell in love with the artwork and the stories, so I decided to try my hand at it. With a background in scenic design, I realized that there are many similarities between the two art forms. As an illustrator I get to set the scene and act the part of the character. I especially love the illustrations of Barbara Cooney. Her book Miss Rumphius, is my favorite children's book.

Dani: What has changed for you since you've started illustrating? 

Roberta: Well, I used to illustrate using traditional mediums such as watercolors and colored pencil. Eventually I transitioned to illustrating digitally. Most of the time I still sketch traditionally, but all of my painting is done in Photoshop.

Dani: If you could re-illustrate any book which one would you choose? 

Roberta: I don't think I would want to re-illustrate any of them. That was then. This is now. Okay, maybe I'd like to tweak all of them a little bit here and there.

Dani: What is a typical work day for you? 

Roberta: I wake up early to feed the chickens. I drop my daughter off at school. She's starting middle school, sigh. They grow up so fast! Then I start by checking my email. If I'm in the middle of a project, I get right to work on it. If not, I will do some sketching, work on designing a postcard or work on some picture book dummies that have been on the back burner.

Dani: Do you have any advice for the illustrators as they work on their dummies?

Roberta: As you put together your dummy book, make sure your visual story telling is as dynamic as your text. Read lots of picture books in the genre you are working on. Learn what works and what doesn't. Love what you're working on. If you love it, it will show in your work.

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  1. Thanks so much for sharing your story this morning. I immediately went to your website and fell in love with the details in your art work. Each piece has a stand alone I'm on my way to the bookstore to find your books!

  2. Your illustrations are utterly delightful, Roberta!

  3. I'm looking at two of your postcards that I saved from SCBWI in Houston Love your work!

  4. Thank you for sharing Roberta. Your illustrations are wonderful!

  5. Thank you, Roberta. "Love what you're working on" works for for so many things in life.