Topic: authors & illustrator
Kevin S Collier
Bio : Kevin Scott Collier is a children's book author and illustrator with 80 titles to his credit. he is also the Staff illustrator for KICK Club TV, and will be hosting his own TV show, "Drawing for Kicks," about illustration to be broadcast nationally and internationally on Christian networks in early 2009.
Jessica: What did you publish first an illustration, magazine article, short story or book?
Kevin: It was a tween chapter book, "barthpenn @heaven.org," about a boy who meets an angel online. It was published by Baker Trittin Press in November 2004.
Jessica: Where was your first illustration published? First written work? Kevin: My first children's illustration works were published in a book titled "Topsy Turvy Land," written by Donna Shepherd. It was published in July 2005. I've actually been writing and drawing all of my life for fun before becoming a professional.
Jessica: How does the submission process differ?
Kevin: I really work in an unconventional way. Many publishers have actually come to me, or I bypass their process just by emailing them samples of my work.
Jessica: Do you write primarily fiction or nonfiction for magazines or books?
Kevin: It's all fiction, and most of it is faith-based.
Jessica: As a writer can you understand the fear a writer feels and trust they put in you to create the pictures they’ve drawn with words?
Kevin: They shouldn't fear anything. I've illustrated a ton of books, one just won First Place in the New York Book Festival. I don't want to sound arrogant here, but I have a enormous resume and more experience in the children's market than virtually all authors who contract me to illustrate their books. I know what I am doing, so they should just let the artist do his/her job, and relax.
Jessica: What steps do you take to create what the writer’s words describe?
Kevin: I read over the story, then create images of the main characters in sketch form. I pass them by the author for approval. And, if it looks like we can work well together, we do.
Jessica: Do you draw book covers?
Kevin: I have drawn over 80 covers. Sometimes I have just done cover work.
Jessica: How long does it take on average for you to illustrate a 32 page picture book?
Kevin: Total time? About 20 hours, give or take. I have completed books with 24 illustrations in 5 five evenings. I work incredibly fast, perhaps due to over 45 years of drawing.
Jessica: Do you have a favorite genre to illustrate and excel at?
Kevin: Whimsical characters. I like doing colorful art with sweet faces. I draw a lot of animals.
Jessica: Have you ever had an artistic difference of opinion with a writer? If yes, describe.
Kevin: A few times, but I don't any more, because I don't work for or with anyone who will spin me or waste my time. I certainly want to design their characters to their approval, but after that, they have to trust someone who has done this enough to create a nice piece of work. I routinely turn down nice paying jobs just because red flags go up in dealings with some writers. I recall getting mixed up with one author who had me revise a pair a tennis shoes a girl was wearing 7 times. I don't have time to entertain another's emotional issues. It basically comes down to this: if a writer wants to play artist, let them draw their own book.
Jessica: When you provide artwork for a book, does the writer have the right to promote it showcasing your art work?
Kevin: Yes, it's their book.
Jessica: If a writer disagrees with your illustrative interpretation, how would you suggest they handle it?
Kevin: We would never get that far. I wouldn't work for them. Now, if their characters have been approved, and we are zipping through the story illustrations, and something pops up that is in error, or misses an opportunity, sure, there's a revision. Basically, it has to be someone I enjoy working with, too, creatively.
Jessica: According to your website you appear to have a strong faith? In what ways has that affected your work?
Kevin: It has opened up wonderful opportunities. God has a plan for those who listen, and if you follow that path, don't let the devil distract you, you'll reach His full potential.
Jessica: Have you ever refused a job, because it went against your beliefs?
Kevin: Yes, many times. There's an unknown list writers have to pass before I'll ever draw for them. Nothing objectionable in content is one. Another, being a published author myself of kids and chapter books, they have to be an adequate writer, and the story has to show potential. Of course, there is the red flags, too. If a writer really likes my work, then let me do my job. If they want to play artist, bye-bye.
Jessica: I see from your site you’re beginning a TV show called “Drawing for KICKS”. Where (cities/states) will the program be broadcast?
Kevin: "Drawing for Kicks" will be broadcast on cable networks Daystar, Golden Eagle, TCT, KTV, God's Learning Channel, WTVE TV, Lamb Broadcasting, CTN48 - Knoxville, and SuperChannel. It's national, and global. It will go all over the world.
Jessica: How did the opportunity come about?
Kevin: I contacted them about illustrating a book for them about their main TV show, they liked my work so well, they hired me as their Staff Illustrator and gave me my own show.
Jessica: Do you have writers for the script and program content? Do they give you a guiding hand and how?
Kevin: We're tossing around ideas. About half the show will be me teaching kids how to draw, the other segments will be fun with my son, activities, etc. Most of it will be spontaneous and unscripted.
Jessica: Describe your son’s role in the program.
Kevin: Jarod, age 10, will be doing all sorts of fun activities outdoors and helping me in the studio, too. We're already sending video feeds in, shot here, locally at home. They gave us a high-def TV camera to work with. I have already turned in spots of Jarod skim boarding, rip sticking and such. My wife, Kristen, will also pop up on the show, reading books I have illustrated.
Thanks in advance Kevin. I’ll look forward to getting your responses. Congratulations on your success it’s well deserved. I wish you luck in your new TV show.
Kevin: Thank you. God has been very good to me and my family. He's my agent!