Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mini-interview with Lauren Rille, Associate Art Director at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing - by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

I had so much fun working with Lauren Rille, who designed the new covers for the Judy Blume middle grade and chapter books. The middle grade just came out from Atheneum/Simon & Schuster Children's, and you can read about how I became illustrator for that project.

Lauren has a blog about her design and art direction work at, and you can also follow her on Twitter at @ElBoogieSparks.

Lauren designed these new Judy Blume middle grade covers!
Cover illustrator: Yours truly. :-)

Q. What is the biggest mistake or misconception that aspiring children's book illustrators tend to make/have, in your experience?

Lauren Rille's answer:

I think people new to the process have the misconception that being asked to revise means they are doing it "wrong"—that they've somehow missed the mark, when in fact that couldn't be further from the truth!

Several rounds of revision are standard; I consider that part of the expected process, and I think it's actually the fun part, too! At that point, you've got the job—we KNOW you can kill it in a final piece, so it's time to stretch, grow, play, experiment, push.

Sometimes, even if something is working, we'll ask for a revision to see if we can get it working BETTER; the first solution isn't always the best, so we'll push to see what lies beyond.

It's in those revisions that some very pleasant surprises come about, new sparks of ideas that will turn into really amazing pieces.

Chapter books coming out from Atheneum/S&S on
May 27 (paperback) and June 3rd (hardcover).

Q. What upcoming book project or projects are you especially excited about? 

Lauren Rille's answer:

There are so many!

Off the top of my head (and to-do list ;) I can think of "Blue on Blue", by Dianne White, illustrated by Caldecott Winner Beth Krommes—a really beautiful, simple text paired with really stunning art—it feels like a modern classic!

There's also REX FINDS AN EGG by Stephen Weinberg—it's his first book, and its funny, and wry, and fresh and a touch snarky, which is always a great combination.

And then for novels, MOUSEHEART is a middle grade by Lisa Fielder and it's just a great read; dynamic, adventurous, and with absolutely amazing art by Vivienne To.

And finally, THE SECRETS OF EASTCLIFF-BY-THE-SEA by Eileen Beha seems like another sorta modern classic to me—it's got intrigue, precious (and magical?) family heirlooms, some mystery, and tons of sock monkeys, so how can that go wrong? It's illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright and her work on it is wonderful.


Debbie Ridpath Ohi worked with Lauren Rille while creating illustrations for Judy Blume classics being reissued by Atheneum/Simon & Schuster Children's as middle grade and chapter books. Twitter: @inkyelbows.


  1. An excellent interview - thank you Debbie and Lauren. And Lauren's blog is fabulous too - such an awesome insider's perspective on Crafty Chloe!

  2. As an aspiring illustrator, when I read the title I thought, "Uh-oh, I'd better go find out what mistakes I'm making..." and with just a tiny bit of trepidation I continued on and was relieved to learn that it's just REVISIONS! And for a moment I felt just a bit more accomplished, because that part isn't nearly as bad as some of the other potentially embarrassing things I likely do as a rookie!

    I'm so appreciative of industry experts who share their wealth of wisdom. Thank you!