Ruth-Mary Smith - Interview (June 2020)
Why do you want to be a published illustrator?
For me, illustrating is part of my every day. I love the process of creating something new and I love the joy that looking at other beautiful illustrations bring to me. Being published seems to me to part of the progression of daily commitment, having the privileged opportunity to share my ideas with a greater audience and deeply hoping that my illustrations will bring joy to others.
How long have you been drawing?
Like many illustrators, my drawing stretches back into my childhood and is part of my early love for picture books. As an adult I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a number of exciting courses that stretch me and grow those skills!
How did you celebrate your first publication?
My first publication was Everybody Can Dance written by Kara Navolio and published by Brandylane Press in 2019. I was so excited to be chosen to illustrate this sweet book and was especially touched that the message behind the book was about the acceptance of children of all abilities. This is a message close to our family’s heart. I had such beautiful support, on its release, from family and friends and celebrated with a wonderful launch in the school I work in. I teach part time in Education support. The book was published in America and so I haven’t had the thrill of seeing in local Australian bookstores, but Kara has sent me photos of it in American bookstores.
In Australia I had the amazing opportunity to illustrate the front cover ‘Enchanted’ for the Creative Kids Tales Second Anthology. More about that below…
How would you describe your illustrating style?
My illustration style has been described as whimsical and sweet. I like to think that it is also has elements of fantasy, transporting the viewer to other places. My favourite traditional materials are watercolours, pastels and coloured pencils. These days most of my illustrations also have a digital aspect of in them as well, although I am trying to be careful to not lose my traditional skills which bring me so much enjoyment.
How has Creative Kids Tales assisted you on your journey to publication?
I credit Creative Kids Tales as my first social step into the world of children’s literature in Australia. I had been diligent in finding as much information as I could online, and the website is fabulous for that. But there was a great excitement on attending the very first Creative Tales Writers Festival in March 2018. Seeing so many like-minded creators in one place was so encouraging, and the information so relevant!
Last year I had the exciting opportunity to illustrate the front cover ‘Enchanted’ for the Creative Kids Tales Second Anthology. What a fun project! I would encourage anyone who can to get involved in this project if it is repeated. We had our launch at Harry Hartog Miranda with great fun, food and comradery!
What are your plans for 2020?
I was selected as one of the winners of the ASA’s illustrator mentorships and am currently working through this with my wonderful mentor Sue DeGennaro. I also have a couple of projects with time frames that I am working through. I am hoping for the opportunity to get my work in front of publishers as I continue to pursue more publication opportunities. I also have a number of illustration projects from commissions.
Thanks for the opportunity to be one of the Creative Kids Tales featured emerging artists!