Illustrator Spotlight: Liza Woodruff

© 2011 Liza Woodruff

Liza Woodruff

Please welcome talented illustrator Liza Woodruff. She has illustrated twenty books and is working on her 21st book, her first as an author-illustrator. She answered some questions for us:

Q.  Tell us about yourself & your background.

I grew up in Rhode Island, the youngest of three children. My mother was a librarian and my father a high school chemistry and biology teacher.  Because of my childhood love of art and animals, I thought I'd like to be an artist or a veterinarian when I grew up.  

I loved art and biology in school. Though I began college as pre-med, I graduated with a degree in art and french. Immediately after graduation, I moved out west with a friend. We worked at a guest ranch in Wyoming and then at a ski resort in Colorado.

Realizing that I would need more training in order to pursue a career in art, I returned to the east coast to attend art school at the Art Institute of Boston. I graduated with a degree in illustration.  
One of my more important experiences during art school was the time I spent working at the Horn Book Magazine- a children's book review magazine.  There I discovered my love for children's books which headed me down the path as a children's book illustrator. I worked at the Horn Book until I was able to go out on my own as a full-time illustrator.

It has been eighteen years since I began work as a children's book illustrator, and I am currently working on my 21st book.  

I live in Northern Vermont with my husband, two children, two dogs and two guinea pigs in an old drafty farmhouse. 

Q. What are your current projects?

I have just sent off a business magazine that I design to the printer, so now I have time to work on my my other projects. 

I am working on my writing and am currently a participant in SCBWI Nevada's writing mentorship program. I am revising three picture book manuscripts with the help of my mentor, Elizabeth Law. 

I'm preparing to revise the manuscript and start the illustrations for my first author/illustrator project ( to be published by Christy Ottaviano Books/ Henry Holt in 2015).  

I'm working on a hidden pictures illustration of seals in a kitchen, which is challenging and fun.

There is always the ongoing project of keeping up with house repairs that I work on with my husband.

© 2014 Liza Woodruff

Q.  What or who inspires you?

Children inspire me.  I love their innocence and their humor. It's fascinating to get insight through my own son and daughter into how children see the world.  

All sorts of art inspire me from abstract impressionism to religious icons. When we lived in Boston, I would often visit the MFA and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. 

Many children's book artists inspire me as well.  I love the art of Christopher Denise, William Steig, Quentin Blake, Hilary Knight, Kate Greenaway, Mo Willems, Jon Klassen. . . 

I am also inspired by and in awe of animated movies, especially artistic shorts. Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of my all-time favorite full length animated movies.

© 2009 Liza Woodruff

Q. Tell us one thing most people don't know about you.

I still like to go looking for frogs and tadpoles in the spring.

Find out more about Liza at her website and her blog


  1. Thanks so much for this wonderful interview, Liza! I absolutely love your art and can't want until your book comes out! I'll be sure to add it to our library!

  2. Beautiful watercolors and that hedgehog is adorable! Good luck with your mentorship and new projects, even the house ones! Heading over to your blog in hopes to see a photo of the old farmhouse!

    1. She is VERY talented, isn't she Julie? I'm so happy she shared her work with us!

  3. Bravo! This is lovely! Ronnie Eden

  4. She is wonderful! Thanks for taking the time to comment, Ronnie!

  5. The illustration with the bear is fantastic!

  6. Lovely interview and that illustration at the top with the bear is fabulous.

  7. What a sweet and charming style. So gentle. Kate Greenaway, one of my heros as well.

  8. What a circuitous route to becoming an illustrator! I love the color and whimsy in her art and can't wait to see her upcoming books.

  9. Thank you all for the kind comments and encouragement. It's nice to be part of such a warm and welcoming community.

    1. Thank you for being part of our inaugural month of Kidlit411!

  10. And for Julie Rowan Zoch, you can find a photo of my house on this page:

  11. Liza, what beautiful illustrations - delightful and charming. Beautiful website - I especially like the layout on your portfolio page. Wonderful to make your acquaintance, and blessings on your creativity!


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