Interview: Ebony Glenn’s Whimsical Artwork Brings Characters Alive

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Ebony Glenn loves to draw and read. She creates whimiscal artwork for children’s books. I didn’t know what whimsical was before, but I looked it up and the definition said it means “playfully quaint, especially in an amusing way.”

I reviewed Mommy’s Khimar, a book that Ebony Glenn illustrated, and I know that it is true. She does create whimiscal artwork. For instance, in Mommy’s Khimar, the picture of the girl jumping out of the sun, smiling as she turns into a shooting star makes me smile. I also like the one where the girl turns into a bird in a nest and cuddles her baby brother. I like it because it shows that she loves her baby brother. It is funny because her arms are wings.

I like that Ebony Glenn’s work is realistic, but also cute. Her characters look very nice on the page. Her artwork is colorful and pleasing to the eye.  (Scroll down to see some of her pictures.)

I’m excited about reading more of her illustrated books. One of them is about an African-American girl who wants to be Snow White in her school play. Last year, I was Snow White for my class play, so I think that book will really relate to me.

Here is my interview with Ebony Glenn:

Question: Why do you like illustrating books?

Answer: Simply put, I love to draw and read!

When I was younger I loved to get lost in the pages of a great book and draw the scenes, the characters, and the environments from the story all using my imagination.  It was so much fun for me that I never tired of it!  I truly believe that illustrations have a strong purpose to connect and engage readers, and I consider myself very lucky to have this opportunity to bring stories to life as an illustrator.  I also get to do the two things that I love every day—read and create art for kids!

Q: What is your art style and what kind of supplies do you use?

A: My art style is whimsical, bright, and colorful but I also have a realistic and expressive style as well.  I mainly work digitally using Adobe Photoshop but sometimes I like to get my hands dirty with acrylic paint and colored pencils.

Q: Who are your favorite artists?

A: I have so many!  At the moment some of my favorite artists are Floyd Cooper, Bernie Fuchs, Annette Marnat and Mary Blair. All are talented illustrators who’ve created some extraordinary artwork for children’s books.

Q: Your website says you also like reading. Do you have any favorite children’s books?

A: The Harry Potter series are hands down my all-time favorite children’s books.  I’m also a fan of many Roald Dahl’s children’s books like Matilda, The Witches, and James and the Giant Peach.

Q: Did you always want to be an illustrator? How did you reach your goal?

A: I have always wanted to be an illustrator, but I lacked faith in the prospect of becoming one in my youth.

Illustration has always been my solace, yet it wasn’t until after college that I began to explore the idea of turning my passion into a career.  While working a part-time job in the day, I worked on my portfolio at night.  I believed in my ability to create compelling imagery for children’s books, so I sought out ways to improve my skills and gain knowledge of the publishing industry.  I studied the artwork of many successful illustrators, experimented with different artistic mediums, read plenty of books on the subject, and joined the organization SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) to help me meet other like-minded folk.

Eventually in 2016, I was fortunate enough to be approached by the Bright Agency and it’s been a blessing ever since!

Q: Have you ever worn a khimar?

A: I haven’t, but I’ve been on the hunt for nice, yellow one to wear like our little protagonist in Mommy’s Khimar.

Q: What other books have you illustrated?

A: I’ve actually just finished illustrating two books, Not Quite Snow White and Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins that will be published next year.

Not Quite Snow White, written by Ashley Franklin (Spring 2019), is a story about a bubbly, talented, and eager African-American girl who wants to be Snow White in her school play, and Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins, written by Michelle Meadows (Winter 2019), is a picture book biography of the first, African-American prima ballerina to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House.

For more information about Ebony Glenn, go to her website.

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