At our Austin SCBWI September monthly meeting, brand-new Illustrator Coordinator C.S. Jennings led illustrators Emma Virjan (PIG IN A WIG series), Jeff Crosby (THE ROCKABILLY GOATS GRUFF, WEINER WOLF) and Mary Sullivan (NOBODY'S DUCK, BALL) in a discussion about how they use humor on their work.
Each illustrator talked about their inspirations and the ways they look for humorous situations that they can include. For example, with WEINER WOLF, Jeff showed one of the illustrations from the beginning of the book with his weiner dog hero lying in an uncomfortable bed, ignored with food in his bowl that's still in the shape of a can. All the illustrators agreed subtlety is the key to humor in their work, along with finding those naturally occuring moments to make the reader smile. The first smile, they said, is their own—when they're working out their illustrations.
Emma credited her art director for pushing her to find new ways to inject humor in her pictures.
Mary, whose book BALL won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, said she doesn't consider herself funny (we disagree) but she tries to think what would be funny with her characters.
The panel was a funny and informative meeting. Thanks to all our participants.