Illustrator Spotlight: Lisa Konkol


© Lisa Konkol

May 1, 2021

It's the first of the month, so we have a new website banner designed by Lisa Konkol. She placed in our recent Kidlit411 Banner Design contest. Read about her new book, WHO'S BEHIND THE MASK COVER? (Nov 2020). Enter to win a copy!

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

Thank you for interviewing me for the Kidlit411 Illustrator Spotlight. I’ve been an artist my entire life, but found my love of creating picture books about six years ago. My earliest memories were of drawing, painting, and reading about famous artists.

© Lisa Konkol

When my children were young, I worked as a technical writer, wrote stories in my free time, and occasionally took an evening art class. When my children were older, I studied oil painting, and sold my work in galleries. Before my first grandchild was born, I wanted to create a special gift for her. I wrote and illustrated a picture book and loved it. I joined SCBWI and was honored to win a mentorship with Michael Kress-Russick. Later, I attended SCBWI conferences in New York, Chicago, Wisconsin, and LA. For the past six years I’ve spent every free moment working on improving my illustrating and writing skills.

© Lisa Konkol

Congrats on your Kidlit411 banner design! Tell us about how you approached this project.

Thank you. I have many fond memories of being read to as a child, as well as reading to my own children. I wanted to show the closeness between a parent and child while reading.  

© Lisa Konkol

What projects are you working on now?

I’m working on two new picture book dummies. One is a story I wrote for my children when they were young about a mother’s magic kiss. The second one is a surprise for my new grandson. I’ve also been experimenting with some new art techniques, which combine traditional and digital mediums.  

© Lisa Konkol

Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by many things, but mainly children, nature, and other artists. Children have such wonderful imaginations, funny observations, and are so honest. They often give me ideas for stories. I enjoy recreating the light, textures, and movements seen in nature. Other artists’ paintings are definitely inspirational; how they portray a scene, the materials and colors they choose, and the emotion they convey. Some of my favorite artists are Mary Cassatt, Monet, Helen Oxenbury, Renoir, and Sorolla.  

© Lisa Konkol

What is your illustration process?

Creating the Kidlit411 banner was a lot of fun. I collected the reference materials, decided on the color composition, and made the design in Photoshop. After printing the reference picture, I drew the sketch with pencil. Next, I outlined the drawing in pen and erased the pencil marks.  

© Lisa Konkol

I scanned the ink drawing, cleaned the stray lines, and made additional tweaks to the composition.

© Lisa Konkol

I painted the image in Photoshop using multiple layers. 

© Lisa Konkol

Sketching the letters, I decided to use a similar leaf pattern.

© Lisa Konkol

I added the letters, completed the detail work, and the finishing touches.

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

Most people don’t know that our family lived in a remote French village for a year. None of us spoke French. Our young children attended the French public schools. It was an amazing adventure and we had a lot of laughs, as we learned to adapt to a new culture. 

Where can people find you online?
Twitter:  @L_Konkol 

Lisa Konkol is an artist and writer from Madison, Wisconsin. Picture books combine her love of children, storytelling, art, and writing. Lisa has a degree in business from the University of Wisconsin with an emphasis in English and has been a technical writer for over twenty-five years. Her paintings have been in galleries and she was designated a Master Artist by the American Juried Art Salon. She enjoys experimenting with different styles and mediums, but especially likes using traditional methods (ink, pencils, oils), and combining them with digital tools. Lisa is married, has three grown children, and three young grandchildren. In addition to Wisconsin, she has lived in New York, Chicago, and France. 

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  1. Your KidLit banner art is so bright and fun! I admire your skills and enjoy looking at the examples on this post. I'm also impressed that you lived in France without speaking the language. What an amazing experience.

  2. I love the banner! It's adorable! And your artwork is fun and inviting. Best wishes!

  3. Your artwork calls out to me. Animals seem to find a way into my life (I once held a bat, on a mop, in Germany - I was trying to nudge it into flying again . . . YIKES!)

  4. You have such a diverse portfolio style! Particularly charmed by the elephant :) Congrats on your recent book baby, too!


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