My next children’s gardening book with a plot, Howie Saves the Hungabirds, is on its way. Finding the right illustrator is always a challenge. Along came a young woman who read and commented on a blog post of mine. I returned the favor and saw her
artwork that called “Me, Me, Me!” We emailed; I sent her the manuscript, she sent me four concept sketches. Two weeks later, I hired her: Casie Pace, a Macon GA girl who’s always wanted to illustrate children’s picture books. What serendipity! I did look at other artists’ work, but Casie’s spoke to me. She was right for Howie. She’d been drawing her entire life, but became serious in high school. Certainly her teachers lauded her work. Casie grew up in a household of artistic siblings and a grandmother who encouraged all
their creativity, be it canvas, musical or theater arts. Casie attended Georgia College & State University where she moved from digital art to concentrate more on painting. After college, she got her first job there at Creative Expressions teaching art to adults with developmental disabilities. Howie will be her first children’s book to illustrate.
Young Howie hangs out with hummingbirds. There’s a sweetness to Casie’s artwork that will bring that same feeling to Howie, the hummers, and his little sister. He has a gentler attitude than, say, Zack does. (Oh, but he does have his moments, too and so does little Carole Ann!) Casie is able to capture Howie’s soft side as well has his mouthy one. I like her flowing lines, her mix of colors, and fantasy feel with a touch of realism. Howie may be Casie’s first children’s picture book, but I’m certain it won’t be her last. [You can see more of her work at casiesketches.wordpress.com.]