We are thrilled to introduce author/illustrator Scot Ritchie

Posted on August 27th, 2020 by Carolyn Hart in Beyond the Dust Jacket - Children's Book Author and Illustrator Interviews

Photo of author illustrator Scot Ritchie

Scot Ritchie is an award-winning illustrator and author with more than 65 books to his credit.

His books have been translated into French, Korean, Indonesian, Polish, Finnish, Arabic and Dutch. Scot has worked with the National Film Board of Canada and has had his illustrations exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada. He lives in Vancouver, Canada.

Connect with Scot online –

Link to author/illustrator website

Author/illustrator Instagram: scot.ritchie

Check out Scot’s outstanding artwork here

Tell us about your latest published book

Lilliana and the Frogs by Scot Ritchie

Lilliana and the Frogs is published by Harbour Publishing. I wrote it for kids who love nature or kids who need more nature. So that pretty much includes everyone. I’m most proud that it conveys, in a playful way, a message of respecting and enjoying nature.

Lilliana and the Frogs at Amazon.com

Lilliana and the Frogs at Amazon.ca

Who is your favorite author now? Why do you connect with this particular author and his/her work?

Patricia Highsmith is my favourite author. She is a straightforward, clean writer – something that is a good fit for kids books. I have to include my favourite illustrator – Sempé. His work is very low key but always with a wry sense of humour.

When did you realize that you would be a writer/illustrator? Is there a particular person who has inspired and/or supported your work along the way?

After illustrating a number of books I decided to try writing my own stories. There were two motivations, one artistic and one practical. Artistically it felt natural to create the other half of a children’s book. But behind that publishing was going through some lean years and I knew I could increase my income by writing. It’s worth mentioning that being able to do both really is a gift because you are seeing what you are writing and, hopefully then, not over writing. The person who was the biggest influence on me was Sheila Barry. She was smart, kind, funny and reassuring.

If we were watching over your shoulder as you work on a book, what would we see? Where do you work? What does your writing / illustrating process look like?

The kernel of an idea can come from something I see. Sometimes I start with rough sketches. Or, as in the case of my newest book, Lilliana and the Frogs, the story comes first. This story developed from something I did as a little boy mixed in with my passion for nature. Writing is a combination of typing, having a coffee, going for a walk on the seawall, returning for a coffee and a sit… then doing it all again. Sometimes walking can be the most helpful. I don’t necessarily think about the story. In fact, I often park it in the back of my head and let that part of my mind do some sorting. Another vital part of the process is putting it away for a week or two so that it’s fresh when I look again. I have also recently discovered the joys of working with a good editor. It’s so useful to have an outside view, especially somebody who knows the world of kids books. Drawing for me is the most fun part and it usually comes after I’ve got a good grasp of the story. By then I know the characters and locations. Sometimes I will do thumbnails for the whole book beforehand but often not. After 60 some books I can pretty well map it out in my head.

What are the joys of being an author/illustrator? What do you derive your greatest pleasure from?

Not to get too philosophical but I think being able to find things inside you and express them is a pretty nice gift. You’re left with a book that people can enjoy and you also discover aspects of yourself you may not have known were there. I love that ‘Lilliana and the Frogs’ just might excite some kids to get out to the pond and snoop around. And to top it all off, it seems to me that people in the children’s publishing business are pretty nice all round.

If you weren’t an author/illustrator, what sort of work do you envision yourself doing? Have you had other careers or do you have another career now?

I’ve been freelancing as an artist or writer for my whole life. I often joke it helps if you only have one skill, that way you sink or swim. If I was to do something else I’m a nature lover and especially fascinated by the amazing world of insects. Plus I’m an avid traveller so let’s say my ideal (alternate) job would be studying beetles in Greece.

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