Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Q&A - Barbara Willcox DiLorenzo

I'm so thrilled to be a part of this group of talented and fun people. Writing and illustrating can be lonely, so to have some wacky critique partners to liven up the day makes the journey more enjoyable.

What are you working on?
Currently, I'm working on a book for Viking called RENATO AND THE LION. I'm also continuing to develop a few picture book dummies that are waiting in the wings once this book is finished.

"Stargazing on the Ponte Vecchio"
© Barbara Willcox DiLorenzo
What is your medium?
Sometimes I paint in watercolors. But then I decide to switch things up and paint in oils. My best work seems to occur when I have a simple yellow 2B pencil in my hand, and I'm just messing around on a wet napkin that is in the process of disintegrating. When I have expensive, $20 cold-pressed watercolor paper in front of me, I freeze a little. But that's what good Photoshop skills are for. I've been using the Adobe Suite since 1998.
© Barbara Willcox DiLorenzo
"Moments Before Opening"
© Barbara Willcox DiLorenzo
Who are your creative influences?
I love Peter de Seve's work. He visited my class at RISD when I was a student, and I absolutely fell in love with his characters. His faces are unbelievably expressive. Seeing his work on the New Yorker is always a treat. I also love John Singer Sargent's oil portraits and watercolors of Venice. Capturing the essence of a person or a place without including every detail is exciting to my eye. For humor, I was raised on Bill Watterson and Mad Magazine. Contemporary picture book makers inspire me, but I hesitate to name names because there are so many awesome people out there. I'm truly excited to see the book format for children's literature grow and evolve instead of being stifled by technology. This is an exciting time to be a book maker.
That said, I do have a dark side too. Edward Gorey is another one of my heroes. Sometimes my dark sense of humor dribbles out onto a cartoon, like the one below. This was born on a day when I felt discouraged, and looked up to see a vulture circling above. It made me laugh.

Your picture book process: do the words come first or the images or both?
My process is a bit of a mess. I start with images. Then I add words. Then I change the images. Then I change the words. Then I throw things. I usually end up by eating chocolate and scrolling through Facebook noting all my friends with shiny new book deals. After that, I regroup, and somehow the work comes together. Isn't that how it works for most people?

If you were an animal what would you be?
A mermaid.
"Late in the Studio"
© Barbara Willcox DiLorenzo
What is your favorite yummy?
I used to be able to answer this question freely. But I am tied to too many professional chefs to be able to single out one particular dish. So I'll just go with chocolate mousse–made by no one chef in particular. Just regular chocolate mousse.

"Leona Was Not Like The Other Hens"
© Barbara Willcox DiLorenzo
Illustration Blog: Paint & Paper
Follow me on Twitter: @wavepaint


  1. There are many journeys represented in this blog. Each story, each person, each journey, fascinating, challenging and beautiful.

  2. I love the dreamy Renato illos and I really want to know Leona's story. The vultures made laugh! Know that feeling all too well.

  3. I'm so glad to be on this journey with you guys!

  4. This was lovely... as an example of vr animation...

  5. Barbara, your work glows! You may be inspired by Peter de Seve, John Singer Sargent, Bill Watterson and Edward Gorey, but you have inspired me and will certainly be an inspiration to many artists to come!!! FYI--Bill Watterson spoke at my college graduation : ) He went to Kenyon.

  6. I am always in awe of your work, regardless of the style or medium. I've been in love with Renato from the very first sketches and I'm really looking forward to purchasing my very own copy!!