Monday, June 29, 2009

Author/Artist Series: Kate Endle

Scrolling through Etsy one day, I found this delightful book called, Big Earth, Little Me illustrated by Kate Endle. I loved the look of the book, and the other fun, funky paper cut out collages that Kate sells through her Esty store. I asked Kate to share her artistic story with us, and here is what she has to say!

1. How did you get your first book published?
My first book was with Innovative Kids, What Do You Want to Be?, and I believe the art director found me through one of my mailings. Prior to that, I was doing a lot of illustration work for beginning reader books in the educational market—little eight page books.

2. What was your next big break?
I don't think I've ever had a "big break". I've been illustrating professionally since 1992, while I was in school at The Columbus College of Art and Design. It's been a slow but exciting journey. I will say that Etsy has, for sure, reached an international audience for my work. I get featured on lots of blogs via that site. I also get lots of exposure displaying my art in boutiques, restaurants, and cafés.

3. What is your educational background?
I've been drawing since I was about 1-2 years old. I was drawing highly detailed faces, with earrings and eye lashes and jewelry, and my mom thought that was pretty good for a toddler. So my parents always encouraged me to draw. They took me to art supply stores for materials and drove me to classes. My high school had a really good art program and I took a lot of classes at The Cleveland Institute of Art. I got a scholarship to CCAD and majored in illustration. I've spent some time at Rhode Island School of Design's continuing education program.

4. Where do you get your inspiration?
LOTS of places. I recently traveled to Alaska where they have the BEST airports. I was really taken by an Inuit art exhibition while waiting for a plane and it blew my mind. I travel a lot. Amsterdam is a favorite; I get really inspired after visiting Holland. I love the store, Anthropologie. I used to help with their window displays. Anthropologie loves educating their employees with current color trends, cultural influences, etc. Mother Nature always has my attention, too.

5. What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
If you really want to be an artist, you have to be able to weather the down times. You have to develop a thick skin. Don't let your other "real" job get in the way, emotionally. I've had lots of part time jobs to make ends meet (art supply store, window display, nude model, farmer's markets, selling merchandise for a band) and they've all been critical towards my development as an artist. I didn't always realize that at the time, but you have to do what you have to do and try and find the meaning in it. The greatest thing about being an artist is that you never know what kind of path you're going to end up on. It can be really emotionally draining, but I'm a firm believer in, "you're always in the right place at the right time."

6. What were some of your first rejections, and what made you keep going?
This is my favorite question to answer. I was sending out promotion materials to various publishers for years—postcards, tear sheets, samples. At the same time, I was attending SCBWI workshops (Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). At one of the workshops, I sat down with an art director for a portfolio review and the first thing she said was, "Oh! You're Kate Endle!". I was excited that she knew who I was and recognized my work. She went on to explain that she was doing a presentation later that weekend on effective promotion materials and she was using my samples as pieces that worked. I laughed and mentioned that they must not be too effective because they had never hired me. The art director reassured me that some day they would hire me. They were just waiting for the right manuscript. Two years later they called me with the manuscript Trout are Made of Trees, by April Pulley Sayre, published by Charlesbridge Publishing. I'll start my second book with them this fall.

Thanks to Kate for sharing her journey with us. I'm going to be looking forward to seeing her new book when it comes out!

P.S. I think Kate is so cute...she looks like she could be a cool English actress...Kate Winslet's sister perhaps?


Kristin said...

Just checked out her shop and I LOVE the whale. Such cute stuff!

becoming-mom said...

She has such a whimsical and sweet style - sweet but not saccharine. I love it!

pve design said...

I am off to visit her shop... loved this post! I always love seeing other artists and how they do what they love...! :)