Updated: Apr 24
It’s a great day for a cafe chat! I’m excited to be back in the interviewer seat, but Lori Ann Palma has kept it nice and warm for me. Didn’t she do a great interview with Sean McCarthy and Erszi Deàk? Today, we welcome the lovely Lauren Rille, our newest faculty addition for the 2016 Pocono Retreat. There’s still time to register for her workshop for illustrators, so click on over!
Lauren Rille is an Associate Art Director at Simon & Schuster, where she works with the Beach Lane, Atheneum, and McElderry imprints. Before joining S&S, Lauren was a designer at Sterling and Harcourt Children’s Books. Some books she’s designed include Are You There God, it’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume; Scraps by Lois Ehlert; Some Bugs by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel; The Guardians chapter book series by William Joyce and the New York Times best-selling Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman. Lauren loves the collaborative process of working with editors and illustrators, and she’s always on the lookout for new talent.
Oh, look, she’s here!!
Lindsay: Hi there, Lauren, and welcome to the Eastern Penn Points Cafe! We’re so happy to have you as a part of our faculty for the upcoming Pocono Retreat! As we settle into our comfy booth, what can we get you to drink?
Lauren: I’d love a latte, please! Full-fat, baby.
Lindsay: No skimping here. Can we get you something to eat?
Lauren: I’d love an almond croissant, thank you. (I never don’t want an almond croissant.)
Lindsay: Ooh, since we’re going full-fat, I think I’ll do a chocolate iced, peanut butter-filled donut. I never don’t want chocolate and peanut butter. Mmmmmm….
So, Lauren, between bites, tell us the last book you read that made you…..
Laugh out loud?
An upcoming picture book called You’re My Boo by Kate Dopirak, illustrated by Lesley Breen Withrow—it’s so adorable and scrappy and funny and sweet 🙂
In a good way? All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Go all warm and fuzzy?
I Heart You, a picture book by Meg Fleming Lentz, illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright. It is SO dreamy!
Believe in magic?
I just revisited a passage from a Harry Potter—I know it’s not the most original answer but what can I say? They are standing the test of time!
Lindsay: You would jump out of your desk chair and moonwalk across the office if you came across a portfolio that….
Lauren: Had some edge, a ton of heart, lotsa humor, great color, a perfect balance of rough and tight finishes and woodland creatures—kinda can’t get enough of woodland creatures these days (think skunks, foxes, raccoons, squirrels, etc)
Lindsay: You step into one of those bright red London phone booths, only to find it’s a time machine that transports you back to your own childhood. What might you be reading, Little Lauren?
Lauren: Oh so many! “The Amazing Bone” by Steig, “Leo The Late Bloomer”by Robert Kraus, “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel” by Virginia Lee Burton, and also ALL of the Susan Jeffers illustrated classics. Those images are still with me and totally inform my work with illustrators today.
Lindsay: What advice would you give illustrators seeking to break into the market?
Lauren: Work, work, work! Keep working and updating your portfolio—an art school instructor once told me that you should have a 100% turnover in your portfolio in the first year out of school. I kinda think that applies for the first few years when one is trying to break in. Also I always suggest finding your local SCBWI chapter—I think it is such a great resource for writers and illustrators at all levels!
Lindsay: What’s one thing picture book authors can do to make their illustrator’s job easier?
Lauren: Leave them alone 😉
Lindsay: What are three characteristics of a visually strong character?
Lauren: It’s so tricky! I think ‘character’ is the kind of thing that’s hard to describe—you just know it when you see it! I suppose that’s not the smartest way to advertise for my workshop, but if I had to say a few things to look for: sound drawing, lotsa expression, great gesture.
And now, for rapid-fire favorites! Tell us your favorite….
Brown and mint green
I’m a sucker for just about any type of clog
Animal to keep as a pet
Like in the world of fantasy? A big cat—like a lady lion! Or an otter.
Animal to star in a book
Piece of playground equipment
I like a good jungle gym—or those little animals on the spring that you can boing-boing back and forth on
Aspect of your job
Working closely with an illustrator to take a project from good to AWESOME
Lindsay: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today, Lauren! We’re honored to have you on faculty for Pocono, and we can’t wait to meet you. Who knows? There may even be almond croissants and chocolate peanut butter things there….hint, hint, hint.
See you soon!