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!
LB: 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!
LB: 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.
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.
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!