Creating Children’s Books was a Lifelong Dream for Elizabeth O. Dulemba
Tell us a bit about how you got started creating children’s books.
Creating children's books was a lifelong dream of mine. I remember staring at Garth Williams' THE GOLDEN BOOK OF ELVES AND FAIRIES as a child and wanting to create that kind of magic for others.
Life got in the way for a while—I worked as an Art Director and in-house illustrator in the corporate world for twelve years (mostly in child-related industries). When I got married, I went freelance full-time, and finally began to pursue my dream.
It took three years of honing my craft and sending out advertisements for my skills before I signed my first contract. (That's considered fast in the children's book world.) After that, things took off. Twelve years later, I have two dozen titles to my credit and I can't imagine doing anything else!
What are you working on currently?
My first mid-grade novel will come out this spring, A BIRD ON WATER STREET, so I've been busy wrapping up final details in preparation for its release. That's been a ten-year-long project, so I'm so excited for it to finally reach the world!
I just finished a series of picture books for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, which will be given out by doctors, free to patients with young children. The books are about proper nutrition, exercise, hydration, etc. It's a feel-good project I'm very proud of, which will help raise healthier children.
I recently did an illustration for Highlights Magazine, started a picture book for a book packaging client, and am writing another novel. I also just received an offer on a fun good-night story, which I both wrote and illustrated. But I can't share further details about that right yet. Needless to say, I stay busy!
What advice would you offer anyone wanting to create a children’s book?
Taking my class is a great first step. I also highly recommend joining the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. (I'm the Illustrator Coordinator for the Southern region of Alabama, Georgia, and the Florida panhandle.)
The SCBWI is the largest writing organization in the world and ties all us children's book creators together. They offer fantastic online resources along with regional and national conferences, which can teach pre-published writers about the business. And they're some mighty fine folks to hang out with.
“I also hope they'll take away a new love and appreciation for children's books and the unique art form they are.”
What do you hope students will take away from your Creating Picture Books workshop?
First, I hope they gain some serious skills. My class is intense and students do tend to learn a lot in a short amount of time. Usually the difference between student manuscripts at the beginning of my class and at the end is remarkable. And I share industry information that gives them resources to pursue after class.
I also hope they'll take away a new love and appreciation for children's books and the unique art form they are.
Lastly, I hope they'll leave with a love for writing. Not everybody gets published, or wants to get published. But that shouldn't stop anybody from enjoying the therapeutic and creative joy of writing.
For questions, more information, or registration please contact the BINDERS Education Office at 404237-6331 ext. 203 or email email@example.com.
Written by Jacob Gunter