Friday, February 15, 2013

Interview Friday with Illustrator Jessica Love from the Night Buddies series

Jessica Love grew up in California, with two artist parents. She studied printmaking and drawing at UC Santa Cruz, then went to study acting at The Juilliard School in NYC.

Jessica currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, toggling back and forth between her work as an actor and her work as an artist.

VS: Jessica, I want to thank you for taking the time to be interviewed on my blog today. How long have you been illustrating?

Love: I've been doing it since I was a kid. The way that I have drawn has always been story-based. That was what drew me in, stories about people, the way you could tell a story through images. So when I was little I would narrate the story out loud as a drew, and I suppose that's still what I do.

VS: Is your family supportive of your work?

Love: Very. My parents are both artists (my mom is a basket weaver and my dad is a potter), and so I grew up believing it was a totally normal job to have.

VS: Was Night Buddies your first publication?

Love: This is my first full length children's book to have published. When I was at Juilliard I would do cartoons for the Juilliard Journal, but this is really the first thing I've had published.

VS: Can you share with us a little about your favorite scenes in the second Night Buddies book?

Love: I loved the character of Fast Fanny, and when I read the scene where she first appears, in the Blimp Emporium, I thought that was fantastic. I love that she's this tough talking broad, sort of a Girl Friday type, and so it was really easy to imagine what she ought to look like just from the way she talks.

VS: What did you find to be the most challenging part of illustrating the Night Buddies series?

Love: Collaborating with a writer can be challenging, but Sands has very specific ideas of how he wants things to look. Sometimes the way we imagined a scene was totally different, and it was hard at times to throw out something I was quite fond of to try to get closer to what he wanted. But that is part of the process.

VS: Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?

Love: I am currently working on a children's book that I'm both writing and illustrating. I hope to have it completed by Summer. It's about a six year old Dominican kid who lives with his Grandma in Queen. I don't want to give too much away, but the book is about celebrating uniqueness, even when at first, that uniqueness comes in a challenging form.

VS: What do you think are the basic ingredients of a good book?

Love: I think the great children's books all have this curious combination of feeling extremely familiar; tapping into some deep and recognizable experience; and also creating the sense of strangeness and wonder that is intrinsic to all childhood experiences. That is what made Maurice Sendak so great. He never lost that sense of terrible wonder, and that's why his books were never saccharine, or simple. Because that's not actually the way children experience the world. That's the what adults project onto kids. But I remember childhood being much more complex than that. I believe children have the same range of emotions that adults do, but because they don't have the range of experience that allows for easy filing, those feelings strike them more vividly.

VS: What is required for a character to be believable?

Love: It has to be three dimensional. The books that stick with us have characters that are not just one thing; they have layers. Kids are absolute geniuses for detecting phoniness and pandering, and they get bored with it immediately. For a character to be engaging, they must be true.

VS: Where can the readers of The Writing Mama find out more about you and the Night Buddies series?

Love: I have a website, JessicaLove.Org, where I post about various projects I'm working on. I'd love to see you there.

You can find out more about Sands Hetherington, Jessica Love and the Night Buddies series World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

Follow the Night Buddies at
Facebook Fan Page:
Twitter: @Night_Buddies

Publisher Website:

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit  

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