This month we welcome Austin SCBWI member Louise Schroeder to our interview series.
With no formal training, Louise learned her trade through books and countless hours of practice. She was the visual creator for an award winning children’s book series, THE BLUES GO BIRDING, and the illustrator for GONE CUCKOO. She has shown her work in numerous art shows in Canada and the United States; created stage designs, murals and posters; and illustrated a textbook for Saskatchewan schools.
I think a lot of us will see ourselves in Louise’s comments, from putting our creative lives on hold and finding inspiration in our families to not being able to work until there are no more excuses to procrastinate (personal blog…check. SCBWI blog…check, check. Hey! Are those dirty dishes? My favorite!). Perhaps if I turned out paintings as lovely as Louise does, I’d procrastinate less? 🙂 Thanks for joining us, Louise!
I grew up on a large family farm near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and was always around farm animals. Then throughout my 20’s, I worked as a nurse and was able to travel overseas for 3-6 months every year, avoiding those long cold Canadian winters. The birds, animals and landscapes from these places always came through in my paintings.
Did you always want to be a writer/illustrator or did that come later?
Early on, I painted just for fun but hoped to illustrate children’s books one day. I got married, raised a family and didn’t pick up a paint brush for ten years. I had to re-learn and cultivate my skills again, but this time I was more focused towards illustrating.
We live on five acres in the country where we raise goats and chickens so there’s always work to do. I take care of the animals and catch up on household chores until there are no more distractions or excuses to procrastinate. I finally sit down to paint in the early afternoon and will sometimes work into the evening. There’s no dinner on the table on those days.
How does your everyday life feed your work?
I try to live a low key life and being outdoors and getting some exercise is important. I get inspiration from my family and from what’s going on at the time. Inspiration also comes from photographs and mementos that we’ve collected from our travels over the years.
Tell us about some accomplishments that make you proud.
I’m proud of the four books that I’ve illustrated, but most of all, it was when my niece’s daughter drew a beautiful picture for me and wrote at the bottom ‘You have inspired me to draw! You rock!’
What surprises you about the creative life?
When a reader discovers your work, what do you hope they find?
I hope they find it fun and amusing.
Quick Fire Questions
If you had to be a horse or tiger, which would you choose?
A horse, as long as I belonged to a caring owner.
Have a dragon or be a dragon?
Have a dragon.
Change the past or see the future?
See the future.
Louise Schroeder is mother to three wonderful daughters who are now away at college. She is currently enjoying country living with her husband near Austin, Texas. You can find out more about Louise on her website.