Last week in the mini-interview series we visited with the hep and talented Mikela Prevost.

How, you ask yourself, HOW could we possibly equal that?!

With this week's interview of the lovely  and witty Laura Jacobsen.

That's how!

Laura Jacobsen is a children’s illustrator, dog mama and baker of a mean butterscotch oatmeal cookie. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter or on her website at








When I moved to Phoenix from LosAngeles, Laura was one of the first local illustrators I met. She answerd my personals ad in the SCBWI newsletter:

"Picture Book Author/Illustrator seeking same to start a long term critique group."

I didn't know if she liked pina coladas, she didn't know if I liked long walks in the rain... but after our first meeting it was clear that we both liked picturebooks, sarcasm, and eachother's company.

Laura is everything you'd want in a critique partner- her work is amazing, her experience in the industry impressive, and if your work is good or (more importantly) if it sucks she will tell it to you straight.

Like the time I brought an illustration of Rapunzel as a chicken (RapHENzel) in her egg topped tower to a critique brunch, I had spent days working on it,  and was pleased when everyone there  smiled politely and said- "oh how nice..."

Everyone... except Laura, who looked at the piece, then pointed at the tower, looked at me and said:

"You do realize that that tower looks exactly like a giant phallic symbol, right?"

I looked at it... I was horrified... she was absolutely right.

Then we looked at eachother and burst out laughing.

That's a  friend.

A good friend and an amazing illustrator who deserves an equally amazing interviewer- so again, I will step aside and hand the mic to Barbara Walters.

Take it away Laura and Barbara!


 Barbara: Laura, your work like all good art, speaks for itself. But, if you had to
describe your work in terms of your artistic influences, you would say its:

Laura: Initially, I was heavily influenced by my mother's favorite illustrators such as Maxfield Parrish, Coles Phillips, Wyeth etc. I fell in love with Trina Schart Hyman's and Leo and Diane Dillon's work and both led me to art school and a degree in illustration.

 Barbara: What influences in your life most influence your art?

Laura: Travel, the internet and my own somewhat weird childhood. My "morgue" is a huge list of internet bookmarks and I always come home with dozens of pictures of things I've seen and experienced that I want to incorporate into my illustrations. I also keep some of the things that I experienced as a child (hopes, fears, weird and disgusting habits) in the front of my mind as inspiration.


Barbara: Of the six fundamentals of 2 dimensional design (line, shape, volume,
perspective, shading, color): Which is your greatest strength?

Laura: My greatest strength and love would have to be drawing, so I guess line. Perspective was also hammered into my head in art school, so I do get a little thrill when my eye- balled drawing is spot-on perspective-wise.

Barbara: Which poses the greatest challenge for you?

Laura: Color. I fall back on the "rules" too often.

Barbara: How do you approach the blank page to begin a new piece or a new project?

(i.e. do you start with a line of action? with the background? with text placement?)


Laura: I start with the "blob" method. Big round shapes scribbled on the page to work out the composition. They are completely unrecognizable as anything, and sometimes I forget what they're supposed to be, too. If an art director wants to see my thumbnails I have to go back and do "good" ones.

 Barbara: How does your medium effect your working style and contrariwise, how does
your style influence the way in which you use your medium?

Laura: Pastel is a drawing medium, so it fits nicely with my love of line and drawing. I essentially work the same digitally as I used to work traditionally. The drawing is the first layer and everything else, watercolor under painting, then pastel layers, goes on top. Color is created by layering on the page. Working digitally has given my work a bit more of a painterly feel and helped me let go of the death grip I've always had on outlining.


And speaking of "death grips"... if you're lucky enough to win the piece that Laura is giving away this week- you'll never want to let it go!

Here it is...


To enter for your chance to win this scintilating sidewinding original piece by Laura you can...

Leave a comment here!


Like Laura on Facebook


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Tune back in  next week  when we'll wrap up this month of mini-interviews with the wonderful Juana Martinez Neal!