Here at Beaming Books we were struck by the charming and vivid illustrations in May God Bless You and Keep You, and Stay Through The Storm - releasing in May, both illustrated by artist Lorian Tu. We asked her to tell us more about her life as a children's book illustrator, and her experience bringing out the depth of these two picture books through illustration.
Q: How did you get started as an illustrator?
A: I have always made art… even as a kid I would draw pictures to go along with the stories my best friend would write. I never dreamed that I could turn my passion into a career, but here I am! I also teach art to preschool kids at a local school where I live in Hanover, NH. I didn’t go to a traditional art school, but I minored in Visual Arts in college, and had to take a lot of art classes to get my art teaching certification. Once I had my own children, I decided to work part time and so I began focusing more on my own art and working from home as an illustrator. I’m so grateful for the blessings God has given me and my family and I’m honored to do His work through my art.
Q: What do you love about illustrating? What do you love about illustrating for children’s books in particular?
A: I love that it is a way to communicate without words. I love that I can basically take feelings, make something out of them, and then other people can feel them when they look at my work. That’s my goal, anyway. I love using different media and playing with shape, color and texture. I especially love doing this work for kids because I feel that they have the ability to appreciate it on another level than adults do. I want them to be able to see themselves in my work. My hope is that some kid somewhere will see my art in a book and be inspired to make their own art.
A: I loved the lyrical rhythm of Sarah’s manuscript, and how it was such a universal theme… the idea of being bathed in God’s presence all day long, from waking to sleeping… I just found it so sweet and special. Joanna’s book struck me to my core, because it is a story about a strong friendship that helps get you through a tough time. I’ve been through some very difficult times, and I’ve helped friends through their valleys, too…. I think this book is so incredibly important to have on shelves, and I’m greatly honored to be illustrating it.
Q: What has the process of working on these books been like for you?
A: Very collaborative and fun. I love working with my AD/editor to solve problems and find solutions. As they say, “two heads are better than one” and it’s SO true. They give me a lot of room for my own creativity, but they are also there to help think of ideas when I need it. I’ve had a blast working on these books with them!
Q: What do you think are some of the most inspiring things currently happening in the world of children’s book illustration?
A: I LOVE that people are beginning to open up more and more to diversity in Children’s Books. It’s wonderful to see kids of all kinds being represented on the pages of these books that are so important in shaping our future. I also love how technology has come to play a part in lending a hand, too, and that through things like social media, we can become a closer community in the field and support each other’s work.
To learn more about Lorian Tu and her work, click here.