Illustrator Spotlight: Maple Lam

© Maple Lam

Mar. 21, 2014

It is our pleasure to introduce illustrator Maple Lam, who is part of the select group of illustrators in the SCBWI Mentor Program class of 2012. 

1. Tell me a bit about yourself & background. How long have you been illustrating for children?

I was born in Hong Kong and moved to Los Angeles at 11. Both my parents are in the arts, and I've always loved drawing. In 2012, I quit my full-time job as a designer to become a children's book illustrator-writer. I continue to freelance as a designer, but I now have the time to focus on creating children's books.

2.  What would you say was your "big break" in illustration?

Winning the 2012 SCBWI illustration mentorship program.  I've met some of my closest friends through this mentorship, and the mentors and mentees continue to help me grow everyday.

© Maple Lam

3.  What projects are you working on now?

I just finished illustrating a book with HarperCollins. It's called TWO GIRLS WANT A PUPPY, written by Ryan and Evie Cordell, edited by Nancy Inteli, and art directed by Martha Rago and Dana Fritts. It's coming out July 2015, and I am really excited about it!

Currently, I am working on two of own stories with my agent.

4.  You recently went to the NY SCBWI conference.  What is one thing you learned that you didn't know before, and what was the best part of the conference?

In a keynote speech, author Kate Messner said the following: "If you weren't nervous, this would not be worth doing." I LOVE LOVE LOVE this quote. It reminds us children's book illustrators/authors to be brave. She said, "You can't have brave without scared." Isn't that just GREAT?

The best part of the conference is the chance to catch up with some of my very dear illustrator friends, as we all live in different parts of the world, but we get to hang out and inspire each other during the conference days. Also, I get to meet new, talented friends!

© Maple Lam

5.  Who or what inspires you?

I LOVE works by Quentin Blake, Tove Jansson, Charles M. Schulz, Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, Margaret Bloy Graham...  And the list goes on.  I am also a huge history fan, so anything history-related  makes me jump up and down with joy.

6. Tell us something most people don't know about you.

I am allergic to chocolate.  Sad, but true.

That may be the saddest thing we've heard today. To cheer you up and learn more about Maple, visit her website ( or follow her on Twitter (@MapleLam). She also contributes to KitlitArtists, the website of the SCBWI Illustrator Mentor Program (where five illustrators are chosen each year from the Portfolio Showcase in the annual LA conference).


  1. Awesome interview, I love Maple's work!

  2. Maple's excitement over Messner's quote has me excited! Best of luck!

  3. Love your illustrations, looking forward to your book coming out in 2015! And thanks for sharing the Kate Messner quote, it really resonated with me as well.

  4. Wow! I was born in Hong Kong and moved to Canada when I was 8! :) I can tell you're influenced by Q. Blake and Saint-Exupery; your art has their magical touch!

  5. What a great interview! I am so sorry that you are allergic to chocolate, Maple! Your art is exquisite, I love it! Thanks for sharing YOU with US!

  6. Thanks for the kinds words, everyone. KidLit411, thanks for having me! :)


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