Elizabeth Dulemba is a force in children's illustration. She's active in the Kidslitosphere and other social networks in the industry. Soap, Soap, Soap is her first picture book as both author and illustrator, and I'm thrilled to be part of her blog tour.
When and why did you start illustrating and writing for children?
I've actually been creating art for children for most of my life, even though it didn't start with books. My first job out of college was animating a laser show for Stone Mountain; then I was part of a stable of artists for a children's clothing company (Snoopy); then I worked with a boutique agency illustrating for Brach's candy, etc. I dove into the children's book market in 2001.
It took three years to get my first book contract (supposedly that's fast) with Shen's Books: The Prince's Diary. It was named the No.1 2006 Valentine's Day Pick by Book Sense (now Indiebound), so not a bad start! My first book as both illustrator AND author comes out this Fall, September 25th: Soap, soap, soap ~ Jabón, jabón, jabón from Raven Tree Press! Woohoo!
What advice can you give a newly published author?
I guess the best advice I could offer is to get your name out there in every way you can. Keep your expectations realistic (that's hard to do) and work on your next project. I think most of us plan to be in this business for the long haul and that takes b.i.c. (butt in chair). And find friends with whom you can commiserate, who understand this wacky journey. You'll need 'em!
What are some of your favorite children’s books that you'd like to recommend?
Well, The Golden Book of Elves and Fairies, illustrated by Garth Williams, is what got me into this career - I adored it growing up and I credit it for planting the dream to write and illustrate children's books. As far as current picture books, I adore Mem Fox's Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and Knuffle Bunny or Skippyjon Jones. Of course, I'm most often drawn to amazing illustration work like in books by Adam Rex, Brandon Dorman, LeUyen Pham, and John Rocco. I read mostly YA, and this year my faves have been Graceling, The Hunger Games, and The Dragon of Trelian.
What are you working on now?
I am currently illustrating The 12 Days of Christmas in Georgia for Sterling Publishers and it's been a blast. I've actually done quite a bit of on-site research which has led me to rediscover my own state. I've blogged about the places I've visited at <https://dulemba.com/labels/Georgia.html>. I'm also writing a second novel and have a picture book out with my agent. Keep your fingers crossed!
What is your favorite dessert and why?
Oh lordie. Chocolate bread pudding has got to be the winner hands down. I love mushy deserts like puddings and creme brulees and spanish cremes. Yum!
Elizabeth O. Dulemba was beamed to this planet with a pencil in her hand. Once she stopped chewing on it she began to draw and write stories for children. She is now an award-winning illustrator for Highlights Magazine - she did the December cover - and of several picture books including the bilingual Paco and the Giant Chile Plant, which won a Moonbeam Children's Book Award Bronze Medal. She illustrated Glitter Girl and the Crazy Cheese; The Prince's Diary; and three books in the ParentSmart KidHappy™ series. She is currently illustrating The 12 Days of Christmas in Georgia for Sterling Publishers, which will be released in time for the holidays in 2010. Along with creating picture books, "e" is highly active in the writing community. She is the Illustrators' Coordinator for the Southern chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators; she is on the board for the Georgia Center for the Book; she speaks regularly at schools, conferences and events and teaches Creating Picture Books at the John C. Campbell Folk School. She also offers free coloring pages to teachers, librarians and parents at her website, www.dulemba.com. Today she shares her first picture book as both illustrator AND author: Soap, soap, soap ~ Jabón, jabón, jabón!