July 2020 Featured Illustrator
Daniel Miyares is a critically acclaimed picture book author and illustrator. Some of his books include: Float, Night Out, That is My Dream, and Bring Me A Rock! Daniel has been called “…a master of visual storytelling.” – Jody Hewston, Kinderlit, and “…enchanting, versatile” – The New York Times. He believes that our stories have the power to connect us all. Daniel’s story currently takes place in Lenexa, KS with his wife, their two wonderful children, and a dog named Violet that gives them all a run for their money.
How did you get started in illustration? What is your background?
I grew up in the foothills of South Carolina. When I was eighteen I left home to study illustration at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL. After graduation, I got hired by Hallmark Cards, Inc. as an illustrator, so I moved out to Kansas City. While working for Hallmark I began taking on freelance illustration assignments and eventually got in to making picture books. I’m now working full-time as a picture book maker in my home studio.
What is your preferred medium, method of working?
Currently, I use a lot of different approaches to image-making, but they usually involve some sort of wet media like ink, watercolor, or gouache on paper.
How did your style and technique develop?
I feel like the way that I work has evolved over time. The more I learn about myself, the more I understand how and why I approach my work the way I do. Painting with water-based media has a lot of immediacy and unexpectedness to it. I love trying to figure out how to control that. There’s always something new to discover. It’s been that way since I was a little kid and I got my first bottle of India ink. As for my style, I try to focus on the stories I’m trying to tell and how I can best tell them. My style really is just the average over time of all of those efforts. Usually, I leave it to others to say what my style is or isn’t. A lot of emphasis is put on finding your style. I figure it’s hard to hide your style. Do enough work and it will show itself.
What do you find the most challenging in your work?
The most challenging part of any book project for me is to find what my personal connection is to the story. Once I understand that it’s a lot easier to make all the other necessary choices.
What would be your dream project? Or what was your favorite project?
Right now my dream project would be to make a book about my father’s arrival journey to this country.
How did you get signed with Studio Goodwin Sturges?
A good friend of mine was already represented by them and suggested I share my work with them. I then took about a year to build a new portfolio with their care and guidance. After that, I started making books with them. It’s been a wonderful journey.
Do you have any art supply-type tips you can share with us? Paint, paper or software that you love, a favorite art store or website to buy supplies or a new product that you’ve tried, etc.?
I love using Strathmore Bristol paper as well as Winsor & Newton drawing inks. I have a video on my Youtube channel all about the tools I use if you want to check it out.
Any words of advice for those just starting out in illustration? What do you wish you would have known sooner in your author/illustrator career?
Focus on the craft of what you aspire to do each day. Carve out even just 20 minutes of time to make something that no one is asking you to make. If you do that every day it will help you understand who you are as an artist, but also your craft will continually get better. It’s not magic, it’s more like geology – pressure and time.
When I was starting out, I wish I had felt freer to reach out to artists I admired. I think I could have learned more of my lessons the easy way if I had, plus the creative community is so incredibly generous.
What’s next for you? Any upcoming book releases we should be on the lookout for?
I have a new book releasing 9/15 from Schwartz & Wade called Night Walk to the Sea written by the amazing Deborah Wiles.
Previous Featured Illustrators
Violet Lemay has illustrated nearly 40 books for children, several of which she also wrote. Her husband’s job as a PGA teaching pro has taken her family all over the world. Her family lives in the St. Louis area, so Missouri is Violet’s home base for me. violetlemay.com
Morgan Hutcherson is an illustrator, graphic designer, and author. Morgan is currently enjoying first-time-homeownership in Maplewood, Missouri with her rescue Corgi Scout, and her long-time boyfriend, Rutger. morganhutcherson.com
Dayne Sislen has enjoyed a career as an art director and an instructor in Design Graphics and Illustration at Maryville University. After retirement, she reinvented herself as a children’s book illustrator. Dayne lives in St. Louis with her husband Don and their wee Scottish Terrier, Ghillis. daynesislen.com
Stephen T. Johnson is an author and illustrator of many children’s books, including ALPHABET CITY, a Caldecott Honor and a New York Times Best Illustrated book of the year. Look for his upcoming book MUSIC IS, which is slated to be published in the fall of 2020. stephentjohnson.com
Heather Hatch is a writer and illustrator. She teaches art classes and volunteers on the board of her local art museum. She lives with her family on an Ozark, Missouri farm with a Big Red Barn and a chicken-coop-turned art studio.
K.L.B. Barsotti (Kate) is a writer and artist specializing in illustration for children, special commissions, fiction (middle grade and below), and poetry. Kate lives in downtown Kansas City, Missouri with three cats, a bundle of rats, her husband and father. snawfus-tracks.com
Jeanne Conway has written and illustrated many children’s picture books. She has also been an art teacher in elementary and secondary schools. Jeanne lives in St. Louis, Missouri. jeanniespaintings.com
Polly Alice McCann is an author-illustrator, critical writing professor and managing editor of Flying Ketchup Press. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri. pollymccann.com
Joe Mohr is the author/Illustrator of ROBOT+BIKE=KITTEN: 34 OF JOEM’s POEMS. He is also a cartoonist, dad, hubby and bicycle lover. Joe lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife and three kids. joemohr.com
Daniel Wiseman is the Illustrator of over 16 children’s books. Daniel also hosts a podcast with his friend Rob Bennet called REMOTE with Rob & Dan about working remotely. He lives with his wife and two sons in Knoxville, Tennessee. danieldraws.com
Lisa Harkrader is the author of many children’s books, including the award-winning middle grade books AIRBALL: MY LIFE IN BRIEFS and THE ADVENTURES OF BEANBOY. She lives with her family in Kansas. ldharkrader.com
Lynn Alpert is a writer, illustrator and graphic designer. She can usually be found reading, writing or drawing in St. Louis, Missouri, where she lives with her husband. lynnalpert.com
Kathy L. Perry is an author, illustrator, speaker and publisher at Chicadee Words. A former elementary teacher, Kathy still wants to make a positive impact in today’s youth. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri. kathyjperry.com
Ed Koehler is an illustrator living in St. Louis and working nationwide, primarily for the Christian publishing market, creating art for children’s books, curriculum, activity books, and a variety of kid-friendly products. edkoehler.com
Kim Wilson is an illustrator, designer, artist and writer. She runs the Dittmer ArtBarn, which offers year-round art classes for children and adults. Kim lives just outside of St. Louis in Dittmer, Missouri. kimwilsonillustration.com
Karen B. Jones’ illustration work has been featured in magazines, books, and the educational market. She lives in living in Olathe, Kansas with her husband and two daughters. karenbjones.com
Brad Sneed has illustrated more than twenty picture books. He enjoys visiting schools to talk with students about illustrating picture books. Brad lives near Kansas City with his wife and daughter. bradsneed.com
Maja Anderson creates illustrations for greeting cards, apparel, gifts, home decor, memory keeping albums and books. She lives in the Kansas City area. majaandersen.com
Deborah Zemke has written and/or illustrated more than fifty books for younger readers. These include picture books, chapter books, drawing books, early readers, and humor books. She lives in Columbia, Missouri. deborahzemke.com
Phyllis Harris is the illustrator of over 35 Children’s Books. In recent years she has focused more on her writing as well as illustrating picture books. phyllisharris.com