Illustrator Spotlight: Rachel Dutton

© Rachel Dutton



April 1, 2018

On the first of each month in 2018, we are featuring an illustrator who won or placed in our Kidlit411 banner contest, and we switch our website. Today we present Rachel Dutton and her illustrations!

Tell us about yourself and how you came to illustrate for children.

It’s been a winding road. I’ve always been artsy and prone to writing fiction. I minored in creative writing in college, and have been semi-serious about art most of my life, although I’ve never been all that great with the critical self-promotion aspect of being an artist.

© Rachel Dutton

For the last several years I’ve been designing and building houses, but this past year I’ve been able to take a break from that, as my husband prepares to retire from the military and we get ready to move, again. I’ve taken this opportunity to really focus on art and writing. I particularly love working on children’s books because they combine my two favorite creative outlets, and present an opportunity for silliness. I’m still unpublished, but I’ve learned a ton this year, and I’m very optimistic about the future.

© Rachel Dutton


Congrats on placing 2nd in the Kidlit411 banner contest! How did you go about approaching this assignment?

Thank you! I’m so flattered. The competition was fierce!

© Rachel Dutton


I’ve done some graphic design work in the past, so I was very conscious of the fact that this was for a website banner. I designed the art around the text. On this project, I worked strictly digitally, which is unusual for me. The tin-can phone seemed like a natural progression from the existing birds-on-a-wire logo.

Your work is so vibrant and colorful. Who or what influences you?

Tracy Verdugo is one of my favorite artists, and her online course really helped me develop my style. I definitely recommend checking out her work if you like mine.

© Rachel Dutton


I also follow as many artists on social media as possible; I find exposure to different styles to be so inspiring. I’m outdoorsy, and really love nature and hiking, and the patterns and light you find in nature. I’m always experimenting with new techniques, and I try not to take the art too seriously. I love chaotic color; art with a lot of energy.

Please walk us through your illustration process.

I start with throwing a bunch of paint on paper or canvas, trying not to make mud. This part is very abstract and wild and instinctive, and I love it. I let that layer dry, and put more paint down. And again. I scribble on it. I preserve my whites. I add more turquoise. 


© Rachel Dutton


Once I have a lot of texture and movement and accidental details, I take photos of the canvas, and use those as backdrops and elements in digital paintings, which I do in Procreate on the iPad pro. In this image, I have layered two different abstracts on top of each other, adjusted the curves and the transparency until I was happy with the jungle-y feel of it, then added more transparent shapes on top of that. 

© Rachel Dutton


After that, I just start drawing, putting in characters and bringing out the scene. 

© Rachel Dutton

What projects are you working on now?

I’m participating in the 12x12 picture book challenge this year. I have two manuscripts in dummy form right now which are seeking representation. The Moose Who Loved Noodles is about a moose’s quest for delicious pasta in a world that doesn’t appreciate his table manners.

In Bina’s New Boogie, a frog tries to spice up her boring pond life with things borrowed from humans. Mostly this goes badly. 

I’m also working on developing a few others. And editing a novel I wrote ten years ago. And doing “real” physical art that hangs on walls and gets stacked in closets. I have too many projects; it may be my downfall.

© Rachel Dutton


What is one thing most people don't know about you?

Well, I’m pretty un-famous, so most people don’t know anything about me! At my core, I’m just a person who likes to make things. I’m pretty fearless, there’s not much I won’t try. I’m a sucker for stray animals. I love to travel, cook, float in the ocean, and see new things.

© Rachel Dutton


Where can people find you online?

www.RachelDutton.com
Facebook: rachelduttonart
Twitter: @rachelduttonart
Instagram: @rachelduttonart 

Rachel Dutton is an artist and aspiring children's book author/ illustrator. She currently lives on a farm in Missouri with her husband and a bunch of animals. She entertains herself by making up stories and talking to her dogs. She's trying very hard to be good about this whole social media presence thing and would appreciate if you follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your technique, Rachel. Love the vibrancy and life you bring to your work.

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  2. I love the rich colours in your illustrations! They seem unique and unlike styles I've seen in other picture books.

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  3. WOW! I'm so impressed with your illustrations. So bright and inviting!

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  4. Wow! Such beautiful artwork! I love the colors!

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  5. I love your style, so colorful and whimsical! Beautiful textures!

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  6. Amazing work! I love the colors. Goodluck.

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  7. Beautiful work!

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