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     Here's where you'll find my Coloring Page Tuesdays, contributions to Illustration Friday, Blog Book Tours (interviews with authors and illustrators), movie and book reviews, marketing and illustration tips under Method, Events and Big News (mine and the industry's), and general things I just find interesting. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Of all the alphabet stories out there, S is for Story written by Esther Hershenhorn, has to be the most inventive. It's a picture book for writers, young and old. And while still a picture book, it offers some downright good advice. Add to that, it's visually stunning and it's a must read.
     Today I have the pleasure of interviewing the illustrator of S is for Story, Zachary Pullen...

Q. I'm completely intrigued by your style. Do you use photo reference?

A. I do use photos to achieve my paintings. I try to not rely on them too much though. Just as a reference to draw from and then I put them away to start the paintings with fresh eyes.

Q. How do you end up with your wonderful angles, proportions and faces?

A. I like to think of pictures as writers think of characters. Three Dimensional and full of life. I want to see every scene from every angle before I decide on one. Sometimes this gets me in trouble though when it comes to shooting and trying to achieve the angle.

Q. What is your medium?

A. I work in acrylic to start, just to achieve my color scheme. I then overwork every painting with oil. None of the acrylic shows through. This is why I question even using acrylic to start although it is comfortable for me.

Q. How did you break into illustrating picture books?

A. I did a few covers for the NYTimes Book Review. One that caught a lot of eyes was a portrait of Teddy Roosevelt. The characterization of him, made an editor at Simon and Schuster take notice of my work. He then researched my work a little further and offered me a picture book within a few weeks of that cover printing.

Q. Do you do illustration work in other genres/areas?

A. I have always done a fair share of editorial work. I love the political realm of illustration. It seems as though my book work has taken me away from that for quite a while. I usually do a few magazine or newspaper jobs a year now though. I also have quite a few paintings just waiting for attention in all corners of the studio.

Q. S IS FOR STORY is a story about writing - do you do that too?

A. I have written and illustrated a title called 'Friday my Radio Flyer Flew'. I have about six manuscripts in a flat file waiting to be finished and accepted into the publishing world. As for 'S is for Story', I learned a lot. Every time I went to read it, I gleaned some more information to help me with projects. I see all sorts of similarities in processes. I think the best advice and tip if you want to be a writer is to read all the time. Likewise, I tell anyone wanting to do art to constantly look at art. It always amazes me the number of people that have written or want to write a picture book, but never have taken the time to read any for themselves.

Q. What's a perfect illustration day like for you?

A. I love my job. I get paid to draw and paint for a living. It's pretty sweet. Everyday painting is a great day. I usually work very late hours while involved in a book though. I usually close up the studio around 3 a.m. and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Q. Do you have any plans to promote S IS FOR STORY and what's in the pipeline?

A. I have done a few signings here and there. I am receiving visit requests from around the country and I am scheduled to speak at several fund-raisers. I always love talking directly to the audience. I love that my audience is full of hope, dreams, and energy. I'll always enjoy painting for that crowd.

Thanks Zak!



Blogger Phyllis Harris said...

Thanks for this interview post, e! I LOVE 'Friday my Radio Flyer Flew'!! It's one of my hubby's and my favorite books! When my husband picked it up and read it at the bookstore he insisted we buy it! That says a lot especially considering our daughter is 23 and he's not even in the kid's book biz with me. He loved it that much and of course, I heartily agree!

Can't wait to check out this book, '"S" Is For Story!

10:13 AM  
Blogger Carmela Martino said...

Fascinating! I love S IS FOR STORY, and enjoyed learning about the process of illustrating it.

2:55 PM  

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