A Cafe Chat with Illustrator Anni Matsick, by Lindsay Bandy

Cafe Chat Cup

IDA Design

This gorgeous fall Friday we’re honored to host the wonderfully talented Anni Matsick, who will be one of our featured speakers at Fall Philly/PA Author Day! Anni has been a part of our annual February art and poetry show several times, now, and she’s a familiar face around EPA. Be sure to say hi to Anni in the comments, and sign up for Fall Philly today to hear her speak about When Pen Meets Brush: Author/Illustrator Relationships in Self-Publishing!

Anni_Matsick_headshot.jpegLB: Hi there, Anni, and welcome to the Eastern Penn Points Cafe! What drink can we get for you?

AM: OOOoooo, how about a root beer float?


LB: You got it! And a snack?

AM: Thank you, but I’d better not talk with my mouth full.

LB: We are so excited to have you speak at our upcoming Fall Philly/PA Author Day! As a freelance illustrator, you’ve worked for a variety of publishers of picture books, magazines, readers, and educational materials. As a freelancer, how have you connected with clients to make a successful career?

AM: These days, it’s primarily through my website at annimatsick.com and online presence in several group galleries. I’ve been happy for 25 years working with a “rep” who got me a lot of educational work back in the days of big contracts (and later handled the sometimes complicated contracts with self publishers). And I had decades long runs with magazines that brought me steady work. Currently, I have a trade picture book released this year by a large publisher, and a second book in a series for a self publisher who has established a company for their sale along with related theme merchandise. Both were attracted by sample characters I showed on my website. My work is done traditionally, in watercolor on paper, and the realistic style is still sought by some clients.


 LB: Lots of our members are curious about the self-publishing process, and we’re excited to learn more about your journey at Fall Philly. What factors influenced your decision to sign on, most recently, with a self publishing author to produce the award-winning Dinosaurs Living in My Hair!?

AM: As I read the manuscript sent via email by the author, the images appeared instantly on my mental screen. I could “see” the story, and started sketching right away to get my ideas down. The rhyming tale of almost-six Sabrina, whose imagination goes wild at her mother’s suggestion that dinosaurs could be lurking in her uncombed locks, came to life in my head. It lent easily to a spreads format, so each turning of the page could open on another panoramic scene, allowing me to draw BIG—which I love to do. The writer, Jayne Rose-Vallee, had seen a sample in my portfolio showing the “attitude” she wanted for her spunky main character. It turned into a terrific relationship, and we really cut loose in book 2 collaborating on a lot of dino action! Check out the SCBWI Bookstop Launch Here!



PrincessLB: I love the expressive children in your work! How do you manage to convey the range of emotion in their faces and body language?


AM: This ability seems to be an inner connection, a knack. It’s a major reason for attracting the commissions I get. I sketch the characters from imagination but sometimes look at snapshots for accuracy in details; like the hands, foreshortening, etc.


college anni


 LB: If you could go back in time to your college days and give advice to Carnegie Mellon painting major Anni, what would you tell her?

AM: I’d tell her that all the drawing classes she loaded up on would pay off someday!


LB: What’s the biggest misconception you’ve come across about self-publishing?

AM: That it’s always amateur level. The authors I’ve worked with sought professional illustration, hired art directors as well, and had solid marketing plans.

 LB: Okay, Anni, now it’s time for rapid-fire favorites! Take a deep breath and tell us your favorite….

Book to read aloud to kids:

The Garden of Abdul Gasazi by Chris Van Allsburg. The mysterious tale is beautifully drawn in black and white.


Color scheme to paint in: 

I love using complementary colors for dynamic contrast. Pink and green, lavender and orange are a couple of favorites you’ll see frequently in my work.

Place to sketch:

I practice my skills at a weekly figure drawing group on Thursday evenings.

Television Show:

Project Runway!


Type of shoe:

You’ll always find me in clogs.

LB: Thanks so much for joining us today, Anni! We can’t wait to learn more about you at Fall Philly/PA Author Day!

AM: And thank you, Lindsay, for letting me introduce myself in advance. See you there!



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4 Responses to A Cafe Chat with Illustrator Anni Matsick, by Lindsay Bandy

  1. Anni Matsick says:

    So who’s coming to Fall Philly?!!!

  2. adillustration says:

    Thanks Anni! Yes, drawing, drawing, drawing! See you there!

  3. Anni Matsick says:

    Just heard there will be a book raffle for attendees, one by each presenter—cool!

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