This month's Featured Illustrator is Elizabeth Dulemba. A seasoned children's book author, illustrator, teacher and speaker plus former SCBWI South East administrator in the US, for a while now she's been based in Scotland as a PhD Researcher in the Children’s Literature programme at the University of Glasgow.
See more of Elizabeth's work in her Featured Illustrator Gallery.

These are some of my picture books from 2005-2013

I was born with a pencil in my hand. When I stopped chewing on it, I started drawing and never stopped. I was the ‘artist kid’ attached to a drawing pad. It made sense that I got my BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Georgia. That was how you made a living as an artist, or so I thought.

I worked as a graphic designer, art director and in-house illustrator for such companies as Buster Brown Apparel (Snoopy) and The Wood Group (Brock Candy, MoonPie), as well as a high-end communications firm, creating everything from logos, patterns, artwork, characters, and package design, to websites and city signage. But I dreamed of creating picture books like my favourite from childhood, The Golden Book of Elves and Fairies illustrated by Garth Williams.

My favourite book illustrated by Garth Williams. I spent hours staring at it as a kid.

When I married, my husband and I moved to a log cabin in the north Georgia mountains, where I went freelance as I pursued my dream. It took three years of experimenting, researching, networking, and advertising to break in with my first illustrated picture book, The Prince’s Diary (Lee & Low). It took seven years to sell my first book as both author and illustrator, Soap, soap, soap ~ Jabón, jabón, jabón (Raven Tree Press). My first novel took ten years, A Bird on Water Street (Sourcebooks). It won 13 literary awards, including Georgia Author of the Year. Yay!

A BIRD ON WATER STREET, winner of 13 literary awards including Georgia Author of the Year. Sourcebooks/Little Pickle Press, 2014

When we moved to Atlanta, I became highly active in SCBWI. I served as Illustrator Coordinator for the southeast SCBWI chapter for over six years. In this capacity, I established annual Illustrators'​ Days, curated gallery shows, created a group website and scholarship program, helping hundreds of promising illustrators on their own paths. My first gallery show, “Storybook Look: Illustrations by Southern Artists,” was so popular, it was picked up by the US National Endowment of the Arts to travel the south for two years. I contributed numerous articles and illustrations to the SCBWI Bulletin, was Magazine Merit Award Winner for a Highlights Magazine Christmas cover, and was named a Volunteer of the Year for my years of service to the SCBWI. I was also invited to become a Board Member for the Georgia Center for the Book, for which I established a coveted state-wide literary award.

I’ve done a ton of speaking at conferences, book festivals, universities, schools, and events, including teaching illustration and writing courses at graduate and undergraduate levels as well as at workshops. But to do more of the teaching I love, I needed an MFA. So, my husband and I sold everything we owned to move to Edinburgh, Scotland, where I got an MFA in Illustration at the University of Edinburgh. You can hear all about that adventure in my TED Talk Is Your Stuff Stopping You?

In the summers I travel to Roanoke, Virginia where I am Visiting Associate Professor in the MFA in Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating program at Hollins University. There, I teach a vast range of practical illustration, creating, marketing, and computer rendering skills (Beginning and Advanced Photoshop) to students, including Picture Book Design, where I teach narrative and sequential illustration, composition, colour, proportion, perspective, storyboarding, mock-ups, and other skills essential to good draftsmanship. I encourage creativity while preparing my students for the realities of the publishing industry.

I began my children’s book illustration career as a digital artist.

A digital experiment becoming part of a story by Jane Yolen

However, my MFA taught me to experiment and play, to enjoy the journey rather than rush to a solution, something I recommend to all creatives.

I became all about experimenting during my MFA!

I was thrilled when a protest sign I made went viral via the BBC and Edinburgh News. I’ve turned it into products available in my Zazzle store and into a book that is currently under submission.

My sign went viral in Edinburgh and became part of my book MY FIRST PROTEST, currently under submission
This protest sign went viral in Edinburgh and became part of my book MY FIRST PROTEST, currently under submission

I now consider myself a traditional artist with digital overtones. My personal illustration skills range from watercolor, pen and ink, relief printing, screen printing, to digital across a broad range of styles and genres. I’m happy to share them all with my students.

Pen and ink crosshatch with watercolour, part of my Marginal Creatures book of images and haikus

I’m pretty well connected in the US children's book industry and am working to build connections in the UK. I am represented by Trish Lawrence of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency for children’s works and Gordon Warnock of Fuse Literary for adult works.

I just finished illustrating Crow Not Crow, written by award-winning author Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple for Cornell Lab Publishing Group. It will come out next fall, so I can’t share a lot of it, but I will give you a sneak peek of my studio, a pencil composition, and one finish.

My current creative set-up while working on CROW

A pencil composition from CROW.
Watercolour finish from CROW – with swallows!


See more of Elizabeth's work in her Featured Illustrator Gallery.
Her personal website is dulemba.com. Follow her on Twitter here, and her blog here.


  1. Loved hearing about your history as an artist, and how you do your great work. Keep it up!

  2. Carole McKee Armen9 December 2017 at 14:13

    You are a lifeline!


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