Interview with the Illustrator: Today I am featuring illustrator and book cover designer, Jeanine Henning. Jeanine is the amazing talent behind my book Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green).
Aside from being talented, she is a true professional with lots of personality and is so much fun to work with. I look forward to collaborating with her in the very near future for my next children’s book. Take it away Jeanine. 🙂
1. How did you get started illustrating and doing book covers?
I’ve always been busy drawing. From as early as I remember. One of my first jobs was as a Conceptual Designer at a gaming company. I worked my way up to Creative Art Lead where I was in charge of creating worlds, characters, and storyline. When I left the industry I made a very smooth transition to books – where my job is to create worlds, characters, and storyline.
2. Did you have to have any formal education to learn how to do it?
No. I’m self-taught. I was accepted into art schools and colleges but I didn’t like the ‘strictness’ they were imposing on CREATIVITY. So I taught myself and to this day I’m still learning. The experience I’ve gained throughout the years is a million times more valuable than the formal education I was considering.
3. How long have you been illustrating books? How long have you been designing book covers?
I’ve been illustrating books for 13 years and doing book covers for the same amount of time.
4. What is your process for finding out exactly what a client wants in an illustration or book cover?
I have a very specifically designed questionnaire. I get to know ‘who’ my client is first.
Then we progress to his or her vision, their tastes and of course their ideas. From there a ‘picture’ stars forming in my head and, well, the characters sort of just pop on out of my pencil!
5. What software do you use to draw your illustrations?
I start with traditional pencil on paper (shock, horror, I know!). I then go on to inks (again, traditional), then I scan the final line art and color with Photoshop. No apps are used in the making of my art
6. Have you always been creative?
Yep, from as far back as I can remember!
7. When you got started, how did you advertise and gain clients? What is your favorite way to advertise your business?
I began by advertising on Indie Author News and writing articles for them. Eventually, interest trickled in and soon we had lift off! And as I began working with clients, the word of mouth spread. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are also great tools. But word of mouth is still powerful.
8. Do you have any tips for those who want to set up their own illustration business online?
You have to become your own brand. You’re in competition with sites like Fiverr. That’s huge.
So get your brand out there, as well as considering what can you offer your clients above and beyond just the art. This industry has something very special – team work. A successful author-illustrator team can achieve amazing things.
9. What projects are the most fun for you to work on?
That’s hard to say… The books I work on are so diverse that each and every author and book bring something really special to it. I really am very lucky when it comes to my clients and the wonderful characters they entrust to me.
10. What do your clients mean to you?
A lot. More than just the income. I learned through my clients, I make dreams come true with them, I get to touch kids’ lives all across the globe with my art. So yes, my clients mean a lot to me.
11. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Bringing dreams to life. And touching lives. I worked on a very touching project not too long ago. An aunt created this character and wrote this story for her very ill niece in the hospital.
The book’s intent is to be distributed throughout children’s hospitals. But when I saw a photo of that little girl’s face when she saw her beloved character come to life – it made my year!
Do you want to get more info or hire Jeanine?
Then check out her web site at: https://jhillustration.wordpress.com/
Thank you Jeanine, for answering my questions. I look forward to working with you again soon. 🙂
NOTE: Not only is Jeanine a talented illustrator, she is a talented product creator too. If you’re looking for some truly unique gifts for kids check out her Etsy store, Team Unicorn Creations.