Home > Writing and Poetry > Thursday’s Interview with Dawn Phillips

Thursday’s Interview with Dawn Phillips

Good morning, everyone. Today Dawn Phillips is joining us. I don’t know if she’s brought her sketch pad and pencils, but if so, I hope I get an autographed copy of whatever she’s drawing. Yes, you’ve guessed it. Dawn is a fabulous illustrator who has graciously picked up the gauntlet of the   interview challenge. 

Claudsy: Thank you so much for braving the guest chair, Dawn. Why don’t you start by telling us when and why you began making pictures for someone else’s stories? 

 Dawn: Thank you, it’s wonderful to talk with you and the readers. 

In 2007, I decided it was time to chase my dream as an illustrator. I started as an illustrator of three children’s books with my husband Roy, who’s the author. Then continued as an illustrator for several children’s magazine stories and soon into children’s books. Also, I find reading the stories by someone else enjoyable and inspiring to my creative mind. 

Claudsy, I’ve enclosed a couple of autographed illustrations from my current book project, Jiggly Janey. 

Claudsy: Oh, that’s so thoughtful and totally unexpected. Thank you so much. Now, I know you contract with both publishers and authors, don’t you? Which is easier for you, working through the publishers or directly with the writer of the story? 

Dawn: I pride myself in creating long-term relationships with the authors and publishers. At this time, I interact with publishers if the contract between the author and myself is royalty based, if a client is interested in my illustration services, and if they recommend me for a specific story.

 Afterward, I’m in direct contact with the author of the story and a contract agreement is signed between the author and myself as the illustrator. I feel it’s important to have open communication between the illustrators and authors. This way they have a better understanding of the illustration process. I’m able to explain the ideas behind the storyboard, and authors able to share their input and approval. 

Claudsy: I’ve been told that illustrations can take quite a while to finish. How do you schedule your time and responsibilities so that you make the best use of available time?

Dawn: Not necessarily (take lots of time to draw), if you manage your time efficiently. Sometimes, I’m able to work on two book projects at the same time. These are the factors I take into consideration–the order in which the contract is received, quantity of illustrations, amount of detail in each illustration, and required deadline.

 My illustration process consists of the following;

  1. Character Sketches – provided within the first week.
  2. Rough Storyboard Sketches – provided in 2-4 weeks.
  3. Final Illustrations – completed in 2-4 months but each project can vary. 

I also require the author’s or publisher’s approval for each of these steps. 

Claudsy: Fast and efficient, then. Your training was extensive. Can you imagine ever doing anything else? Why? 

Dawn: Of course not. This is where my heart and soul belongs as an illustrator. Yet, I’m not just an illustrator. I also manage and market my own business. The additional educational background and experiences, in marketing and management are added bonuses. Keep in mind, you can never have enough training. I’m always eager to learn new styles and techniques of illustrating.

Claudsy: You have a new release – Lando Brown’s “The Red Candy Caboose,” plus you have one in the wings, Robert Warner’s “But You Didn’t Eat Your Elephant.” How long does it take to prepare the illustrations for just one book? 

Dawn: 2-3 months average

4-6 months, if there’s a large quantity of illustrations and require a lot of detail to the illustrations.

Claudsy: What’s the most illustrations you’ve had to do for any one book and why?

Dawn: I’d guess about 32 illustrations. The story was a picture book requiring 24 illustrations and cover art design. The additional sketches were the result of developing the perfect character, background changes, and placement adjustments.

 It was important to me as the illustrator that the author was satisfied with the project as well as myself. Some of the revisions were completed prior to showing the author because of new ideas.

Claudsy: And how many requests do you get each year to volunteer your talents to the schools or community events? 

Dawn: I absolutely love volunteering my time to schools. I’ve participated in a few PTA book fairs through some local schools. I truly enjoyed the opportunity to show students my artwork, teach them how to draw characters, answer their questions, and spark their own imaginations. Also, to explain how the story and the illustrations come together.

Claudsy: Could you tell us about R & D Books?

Dawn: R& D Children’s Books was formed in 2006. The hubby and wife duo (R & D) Author Roy O. Phillips and Illustrator Dawn Phillips originated with their three published children’s books, released in 2007.

 Roy later branched into one of his other areas of interest, photography. I continued to pursue my long time dream as an illustrator. 

Claudsy: When you began, did you really think you’d be where you are now with so many completed projects sitting on book shelves everywhere?

Dawn: When I began in 2007, my goal was to gain recognition as an illustrator. Each book added to my bookshelf represents progress.

No, I never expected to have completed illustrations for 16 children’s books and 1 cover art design. 

Claudsy: What advice would you give the aspiring artist who might fit the bill for illustrator?

Dawn: Chase your dreams! Expect to be faced with challenges and obstacles but never get discouraged. Learn from them and move on. Continue to practice your skills, research various publishing guidelines, and visit the bookstores regularly. 

Claudsy: I want to thank you again, Dawn, for taking the time to be with us today. A busy schedule doesn’t always allow for such interruptions in an otherwise hectic day. 

Short Personal Biography 

    Illustrator, Dawn Phillips, two of her own books as well. They are–“Roggie’s Pet Froggie” and “Oh where, oh where, did my Shoelaces go?” Plans are in the works to complete the illustrations for them for submission. She took her higher education at Bellevue University in Marketing and and Associate of Arts in Fine Arts at Univ. of NE at Omaha. She also has degrees in Graphic Art and Illustration and Electronic Visual Imaging and a specialty in Story Boarding.

She lives with her writer husband, Roy, and her two teens—one boy and one girl.

 Her Illustrator Credits include:

Jiggly Janey, Author Tiffinay Compiano – Coming in 2010

Rail Tails that Haunt Us (Cover Design) Author Lando Brown,

Coming in 2010

The Red Candy Caboose, Author Lando Brown, 2009

“But You Didn’t Eat Your Elephant! Author Robert Warner, No

Release Date Yet

Jimmy and his Amazing Flying Truck, Author Tanya Anchors, 2009

Alexis and Ralph the Dragon, Author Bernard Kowalski, 2009

Curly Top, Author Michelle Nelson, 2009

The Belly Button Book, Author Michelle Falli, 2009

“Glasses for me, Oh, No!”Author Kaleena Ma, 2009

How Mr. Sausage Found Silver, Author Patrick Bruck, 2008

What if You Give a Child A Letter, Author Doris Sweeney, 2008

Story Time with Grandma, Author Barbara Dade, 2008

D. Rudy Derek and the Tickle Monster, Author Barbara Chertoff, 2008

The Mother’s Spell A Funny Fairytale, Author Maggie Pagratis, 2007

The Trouble with Chemistry, Author Roy Phillips, 2007

Velicity goes to the city on a School Day, Author Roy Phillips, 2007

Slow Down, Author Roy Phillips, 2007

Dawn also creates marketing brochures, business cards, postcards, and various merchandise designs.

    You’re welcome to view her blog “The Creative Eyes of Dawn Phillips” at www.rdchildrensbooks.blogspot.com. She has written interviews, articles, stories, and special interests about illustrating. And in case anyone wonders, she doesn’t classify herself as a full-time writer.



Remember to leave your comments on this interview. Tomorrow, as usual, I will take some aspect of this interview for a commentary. I hope all of you will stop by again to read and comment on it.

Have a productive and creative week everyone and feel free to stop by any time to just say hello, and hopefully, learn something new. 

A bientot, 


Categories: Writing and Poetry
  1. March 12, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Claudsy and Dawn,

    Thanks for a wonderful interview. I enjoyed learning more about Dawn. She’s so talented!

  2. April 4, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Your blog is so informative … ..I just bookmarked you….keep up the good work!!!!

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