Friday, April 1, 2011

Interview Friday with SFC Art Director Rosemaire Gillen

Rosemarie Gillen, Art Director of SFC, is a professional Children's Book Illustrator. She has won several awards and has been published traditionally and online. She specializes in enhancing children's book with her unique style of illustrations. Her style is colorful, happy and child friendly displaying the sweet innocence and simplicity of childhood.  Her interests range from painting reproductions of great masters to reading, and horseback riding. You can find more of her work at

VS: Rosemarie, thanks for being here today. It's been lots of fun working with you and getting to know you. So now it's time for the SFC fans and my readers to learn more about the SFC Team so can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you became an Illustrator.

Rosemarie: In the 80’s I remember falling in love with a Van Gogh and I imagined myself painting it. So I went and brought supplies and started painting to satisfy my curiosity and much to my surprise I was able to copy the Great Masters. I continued to fill the walls of my home with reproductions of Great Masters and I enjoyed it as a hobby. Then one day when I saw an ad on Craigslist adversting for artists for children books which led me to children’s illustrating. I am a self taught artist no schooling.

VS: Can you share with us about your work at SFC as Art Director. Give a short summary. 

Rosemarie: Sure basically, I match illustrators with author manuscripts, looking for the right illustrator to compliment each story.

VS: I know we're all very busy at SFC and we donate whatever time we can. But what is a typical day like for you outside your SFC responabilities? 

Rosemarie: I start work at 6:30 am. I go through my emails first and then I sort out what needs to be done for that day. Once all the business matter is taking care of I will work on any book projects I have due. Some days I will spend researching publishers and creating sample packages to be sent. I spent at last 30 minutes a day looking for publishers and, learning new things about the industry. I spend every other morning working with colleagues via Skype conferring about projects. I try to get in as much work in the morning so I can spend the afternoon with my son.

VS: I totally understand trying to get work out of the way to be with your wonderful boy. I tend to work later at night when the kids are in bed for the same reasons. Is your family supportive about your illustrating? 

Rosemarie: Yes, my family is considerate about the fact that I have time that I can devote to my craft.
VS: That is wonderful to hear. What do you enjoy most about illustrating for children? 

Rosemarie: Being able to do something I love to do, having the freedom of not reporting to a boss every day.
VS: I second that. One thing I love about SFC is we all work as a team, but without being over seen. Okay, so what is the most difficult part of illustrating a children’s book/story? 

Rosemarie: The most difficult  is trying to translate the text into the author’s vision.
VS: I always wondered if illustrators had a hard time getting into our heads. Of course, I think it's also important for the illustrator to show the story through their POV, too. So that would be hard. Now can you tell us what you do outside of SFC as an illustrator. 

Rosemarie: I am a full time children’s picture  book illustrator.

VS: Do you make school visits? If so, please describe a typical school presentation. 

Rosemarie: I haven’t as yet made a school visit but I am looking forward to in the future.

VS: I'll help you change that. One thing I'm big on is helping those who help me...especially with the SFC Team. Rosemarie can you your website? Please give the URL so authors or readers can go online to learn more about you and your artwork? 

Rosemarie: Yes, my web site is located at

VS: What are you working on right now? 

Rosemarie: Right now I am working on 3 children’s picture books for a publisher plus working as the Art Director at Stories for Children Magazine.

VS: I can't tell you how happy I am to have you on the team. I just looked at all the artwork for the April and May issues. Our readers are going to be impressed and you did such a great job pairing up authors with illustrators. Okay, so what would we be surprised to learn about you?

Rosemarie: I play the piano and paint reproductions of Great Masters. And I relive my childhood through my son.  I get my physical activity by playing outside with my son and his friends. We sled down our hill in our back yard in the winter, play basketball, ride bikes, fly kites and have Nerf wars.

VS: Wow, you're a very fun mom. My kids just think I strange. Before we go can you share your best tip for aspiring illustrators?

Rosemarie: It is all about hard work and attitude; you have to really love what you are doing. It is not something that is accomplished quickly.  Be prepared for years of hard work and do everything you can to stay true to yourself. Be unique.

VS: Thanks again Rosemarie for taking the time to answer my questions and I know everyone will be really happy to see what you have brought to the magazine this April. 

Also, be sure to stop by April 4, 2011 to see the re-launch issue of Stories for Children Magazine at and you can listen in every month to SFC Magazine News at where I share a bit about the new issue and talk with the SFC Featured Guest. 


  1. Hi Virginia and Rosemarie,
    Love your artwork, Rosemarie!
    Great interview you two!

  2. Great interview Virginia and Rosemarie. Great to get to know more about you. Thanks for giving of your time and talents... and I love your illustration style Rosemarie! I see great things for SFC!