Illustrator Spotlight: Carolyn Le

© Carolyn Le


Oct. 1, 2019

On the first of each month in 2019, we feature an illustrator who won or placed in our Kidlit411 Banner Contest, and we switch our website banner and Facebook page cover image. Today we present Carolyn Le

When we featured you three years ago, you were unpublished as an illustrator and now you have two books out. Congratulations! What were the one or two key things you did for your career to make the transition to publication? 


© Carolyn Le

Thank you so much. I think the one thing I did on the road to publication was to get serious about becoming a children’s book illustrator. Before this, I was more focused on my job as a display artist/visual merchandiser and becoming a published illustrator was a nebulous dream, something that would happen in the distant future. I became more active in the kid lit community and sent out postcards more consistently. It was through an SCBWI event that I connected with a writer that was self-publishing her own stories. She became my first client. And it was through my postcards that Arbordale Publishing became my second client. 



© Carolyn Le


Tell us about your books that are out. What kind of research did you do as an illustrator for these books? 




I've illustrated two books, WHICH ANIMAL IS THE FASTEST, by Brian Rock (Arbordale Publishing 2018) and CLARENCE AND THE TRAVELING CIRCUS, by Melissa Northway (Polka Dots Publishing 2014).



I love capturing the individual characteristics of a person or animal and bringing their personalities to life in the books I write and illustrate. So, I do a lot of research and sketches using the Internet, books, and observation of the world around me to capture their facial expressions and movements. 


Do you have any more projects in the works? 


© Carolyn Le

I recently signed with literary agent Laurel Symonds at The Bent Agency. After several rounds of revisions, we have a picture book out on submission. Hopefully there will be some exciting news to share here in the future. We’re now working on revising a second picture book.




© Carolyn Le


Congrats on the Kidlit411 banner design. Tell us about how you approached this assignment. 


© Carolyn Le

Thank you. I had fun working on it. I thought about what Kidlit 411 was about and focused in on its community and the members’ helpfulness in sharing information and ideas. So, this became the basis for my idea. Then I started to think about what I would enjoy painting: animals, fall, and at the time I was fascinated with white pumpkins. 

What is one thing that people don't know about you? (Other than what you answered last time, your Vietnamese blood pie-making ability) 


© Carolyn Le

When I was little, I read about a character being able to lift one eyebrow. I thought this was so cool, I practiced and practiced until I could do it too.  


© Carolyn Le


Where can people find you online? I welcome visitors at carolynle.com, Twitter: @CarolynLe12, and Instagram: Carolyn Le.


© Carolyn Le



Carolyn Le has received numerous illustration awards and a writing award from SCBWI. She also received an Honorable Mentioned Award from The Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles. She was mentored by author Camille Andros, and is the illustrator for the picture books WHICH ANIMAL IS FASTEST and CLARENCE THE TRAVELING CIRCUS. Carolyn shares her love of art with her students ranging from K–8, and during her free time she enjoys visiting new cultures with her family, gardening, and making soups.

7 comments:

  1. I particularly love the blues in your work. Congrats on your books!

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  2. Love the beautiful artwork. They sound fabulous.

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  3. What a nice interview. I love the fall banner and the details of the girl sitting at the table with a Lincoln book and a family portrait on the shelf in the mirror. The eyebrow story is really funny and when my kids were little they ALWAYS asked how did I do that! lol. I will check you out on instagram as well.

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  4. Lovely interview! Beautiful artwork. Thanks for sharing your story!

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  5. How nice to have a fall themed banner! Great interview!

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  6. Carolyn's art is fantastic! I can't wait to see more of her books.

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