Illustrator Spotlight: Deana Sobel Lederman


© Deana Sobel Lederman 

May 1, 2024

We are pleased to feature illustrator Deana Sobel Lederman and her website banner design for Kidlit411 and her upcoming book, Morgan (TBR Books) out now. Enter to win a copy in the Rafflecopter below!


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


My grandmother was an artist and taught me to paint when I was very young. For as long as I can remember, I have viewed creating children’s books as my life’s work. I love the world of classic children’s books such as Madeline, Frances, Babar, Frederick, Frog and Toad and many others. I can remember reading Danny the Dinosaur in my grandmother’s apartment in New York and feeling like the line between Danny’s world and the real world was nonexistent – the world of books was the real world! When I write and illustrate for children, I aim to share the sense of wonder, fun and joy classic picture books evoke.  

© Deana Sobel Lederman


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


I used to illustrate for the New York City Department of Education, and it was important to represent the incredible diversity of children in New York. I had that work in mind when I began this project. I wanted to keep the lines simple and bold while capturing the excitement kids feel when reading a good book, especially at school. I also added animals kids would have fun looking at it, and kept an eye on the negative space in the banner to help the illustration breathe. 

© Deana Sobel Lederman


Congrats on your book, Morgan! Please tell us about it and what inspired you. Morgan was inspired by the incredible collections and people at the Morgan Library & Museum, as well as classic picture books (some of which are part of the Museum’s collection!). It has been an honor to work closely with the Museum on this book and to support their family programs. This book celebrates the connection kids have with the Museum. I am hopeful it will inspire a new generation not only to visit the Morgan Library & Museum, but to foster a love of museums in general.  

© Deana Sobel Lederman


What is your preferred medium and illustration process? 


Mixed media – first I draw the illustration using pencil or ink – keeping the drawing spontaneous. Then I add color using watercolor, digital color, or a mix of both. I have also experimented with acrylic and oil for illustration, as I am a painter. I think painting informs all of my work in terms of how I approach a subject. Sometimes, I create illustrations entirely in Procreate, but I try to keep that organic look in my work at all times. The feeling I capture in an illustration is more important to me than perfection – sometimes a slight imperfection can create more emotion in a work.

© Deana Sobel Lederman


What projects are your working on now?


My picture book, Morgan, about the Morgan Library & Museum in New York is releasing this month from TBR Books. I worked closely with the museum on this project and will be reading at their Spring Family Fair and centennial celebration on May 5. It’s a special project for me as I grew up visiting the museum and have worked with them on other illustration projects for family programming and retail. You can see some of those illustrations hereMy agent, Kristen Terrette at Martin Literary Management, is also about to go on submission with my latest picture book project about a beloved toy shop dog. 


© Deana Sobel Lederman

What advice would you give to aspiring illustrators?


Keep drawing and reading! Find illustration classes at your local college or university. Study recent picture books, but don’t be afraid to draw inspiration from classic picture books because the ones that endure are the best of their genre. Spend time at your local library and get to know the children’s librarians. They are wonderful resources and provide an important service. Volunteer to read picture books for story times. As you progress as an illustrator, find your own voice by listening to your intuition. 


© Deana Sobel Lederman

What is something most people don't know about you?


I studied French and Italian in college (though I forget a lot of it!), and I used to sing the national anthem at high school sports events as a teenager. 

© Deana Sobel Lederman


Where can people find you online?


My website, @drawdeanadraw on Instagram, @drawdeanadraw on X and author page Deana Sobel Lederman on Facebook. 



Deana Sobel Lederman is an author-illustrator and cartoonist. She has worked with many large institutions as an illustrator and was the nationally recognized college cartoonist for The Daily Californian as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley. Her trio of picture books about the Covid-19 pandemic, Rainbows, Masks and Ice Cream, was published by non-profit TBR Books in 2020. Her latest picture book, Morgan, releases this month from TBR Books in partnership with the Morgan Library & Museum. Deana is represented by Kristen Terrette at Martin Literary Management. 



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