Illustrator Spotlight: Victoria Marble

© Victoria Marble

Feb. 28, 2020

Today we are excited to feature illustrator Victoria Marble and her book, THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ  written by L. Frank Baum (MCP Inc., October 2019). 

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

I have loved to draw my entire life. My parents enrolled me in drawing classes at our local rec center when I was in probably second or third grade. When I was old enough to understand people could draw for a living, I became fascinated with animation, particularly Disney animation during the Golden Age and Renaissance, and I began to look into pursuing that.

© Victoria Marble

Around high school, I began to seriously carry a sketchbook around with me, drawing things I observed; as well as recreating art, images, and characters that inspired me. At the same time, I loved to read and write, and excelled with honors in English and literature classes as well. When things changed and I needed to focus on working (I was a caterer at a local bakery), I decided to pursue art as much as I could by enrolling in art classes at our local college. It was there that I enrolled in my first illustration class, and realized that I could combine art and literature into one pursuit. 

© Victoria Marble

I joined SCBWI CenCal chapter, and I’ve been refining my portfolio and manuscripts ever since- submitting to agents and houses along the way. I also joined my local art association, entered and won in a few shows; and in the meantime, I’ve earned an AS in Game Design, and learned how to apply my illustration techniques to character and concept art in gaming.

Congrats on your recent book, THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ. Tell us about this project and what inspired you.

Thank you! This project has been a lot of fun. When I first submitted my portfolio to Tannya at MacLaren-Cochrane, she immediately loved an image of the characters I had among my samples, that I had done simply as a personal project and portfolio piece. She asked if Wizard of Oz was a project I’d be interested in, and if I’d be willing to use those exact same character designs and style. To say that I was BEYOND THRILLED would be a serious understatement, it felt more like a dream-come-true. 
© Victoria Marble

Wizard of Oz has always been a favorite of mine, and to get to work directly with the original text of this beloved classic was a huge honor. That it is in the Dyslexic-friendly font made the project all the more special- I’ve learned so much about the design of the font, how it works, and about Dyslexia and Dyslexia Awareness. Of course, I was inspired by the Technicolor aesthetic of the film, coupled with the original Denslow color plate images. I also searched online to see how other artists had interpreted the characters and story before (did you know there is a Marvel edition?)

What is your preferred artistic medium and what is your illustration process?

I use a mix of pens, watercolors or gouache, and colored pencils in my final, colorized pieces. I’ll start with a thumbnail sketch (or a few) on recycled newsprint or in a sketchbook first, to get an idea of how I’d like to compose the image. 

© Victoria Marble

Then, I’ll blow it up to a larger size- very often using Photoshop to enlarge the actual thumbnail to get a preliminary rough sketch which I will further refine.

© Victoria Marble

Once I have a rough I’m happy with, I’ll use either carbon transfer paper or tracing paper to roughly transfer it onto the final paper (I use Arches). From there, I will very finely re-line the image using a mechanical pencil to get those tight lines. 

© Victoria Marble
I’ll then ink the image, using Micron pens in a few different sizes, and then color with either gouache or watercolor. I’ll use colored pencil and white ink to add texture, highlights, and shadows. Finally, I’ll light & color-correct in Photoshop.

© Victoria Marble

Who or what inspires you?

Every day it’s something different. A favorite movie, a line from a song, something I saw outside, or something my (now 4-year-old) daughter said. A lot of what I experience day-to-day ends up in my sketchbook (or as a picture book concept). I have so many favorite miscellaneous interests, as well. Disney was my earliest inspiration. Anything outdoors- flowers, foliage, birds, insects. I also love classic American literature, folk tales, and mythology. I have a recent newfound fascination with Tudor-era England. It all inspires me. My dad- who is a largely selftaught mechanical engineer- once said something that still sticks with me: “Find something you enjoy doing, and just get really good at it. You’ll never work a day in your life.”

What projects are you working on now?

My latest project with MacLaren-Cochrane was actually my first author collaboration- a whimsical chapter book entitled Tux in the Zoo (released Feb. 4th) by the fantastic author Diana
Aleksandrova. The story is about a curious Boston terrier puppy who wanders out of his backyard and winds up in a city zoo, meeting and engaging with the many animals he encounters along the way. 

With illustrations for Tux now finished, I have begun work on my next Dyslexic-edition illustrated classic, Alice in Wonderland. Check out this article I wrote for the MathIsEveryWhere blog (run by the fantastic Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez) about my experience in working with classics.

Aside from those projects, I am also in the midst of refining my own manuscripts, conceptualizing new picture books, and working steadily on a few video game concepts with my husband, who is a programmer and character animator.

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

My family dog is a model- she was recently in a string of photo shoots for some furniture ads.

Where can people find you online?

Facebook- VictoriaMarbleArt
Twitter- @victoria_marble
Instagram- @victoria_marble_art

Victoria Marble is an illustrator specializing in character & narrative design, with a particular emphasis on children, animals, insects, & floral designs. She holds a general studies associate of arts degree with an emphasis on arts & humanities, as well as an
associate of science in electronic game art & design. She became an executive board member of the Simi Valley Art Association at the beginning of 2015, where she quickly gained local recognition for her uniquely stylized pen-and-ink illustrations. Victoria helps edit and coordinate the association's monthly newsletter in addition to attending meetings and art demos, and participating in art shows, galleries, and contests. Her work in the association has won various awards. Victoria’s first books, Baum’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Tux in the Zoo by Diana Aleksandrova were published in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Victoria adores creating art that emphasizes the beauty of nature- and particularly birds, fish, insects, and floral designs, along with cute children and animal characters.

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  1. The illustration with the young fox is amazing with those incredible colors and the wonderful design!

  2. The illustrations are delightful. I've always loved The Wizard of Oz. You should see my collection of plates, dolls and figurines. Congrats!

  3. The Wizard of Oz is one of our favorites. Thank you for sharing your journey and illustration process. That's so cool about your dog being a model.

  4. Wonderful colors! I love that Scarecrow is on a stake! Like a real scarecrow. Fun! Congratulations and best wishes!


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