INTRODUCING BENEATH THAT STAR ILLUSTRATOR SARAH E. NICKEL

As God’s glory is revealed through His unfolding purposes and plans for our respective lives, He calls us to encourage and uplift others in their gifting too. As someone who has worked with children, youth, and young adults for 20 years, my heart still beats strongly for this age group.
 
When I was looking for an illustrator for my book The Two Trees, I asked my network of writer colleagues if they had worked with or knew any children’s book illustrators. Although I received and followed up on several leads, I ended up selecting an illustrator who I met right here in my hometown. However, there was one young illustrator among those initial referrals whose style caught my eye; her use of digital imagery seemed perfect for my second children’s book, Beneath That Star. Her name: Sarah E. Nickel.
 
Although the manuscript wasn’t fully completed by the time we entered into discussions, I explained the story to Sarah—it is based on a song of the same name I wrote for my Christmas CD Red & White—and she offered to send me (pencil) concept sketches of her interpretation of the characters. I loved her ideas and decided to hire her as the illustrator for Beneath That Star.
 
Here is the concept drawing for the main character, Saray, in Beneath That Star.

 
When you compare these sketches to the final illustrations, you will see that we kept very close to Sarah’s original vision. Here is a sample of one of the finalized illustrations, which ended up being the cover of Beneath That Star. As mentioned earlier, Sarah’s illustrations are digitally created with a beautiful saturation of colour.


 
Here is a little bit more about the Sarah E. Nickel, illustrator of Beneath That Star:
 
What or who influenced or inspired you to become an illustrator?
 
Reading and enjoying comic books inspired me to want to do my own pictures.
 
What media do you most enjoy working in?
 
I enjoy using acrylic paints. The computer programs I use (for my digital drawings) vary depending on which device I am using at the time.
 
How did it come about that you became the illustrator for Beneath That Star?
 
My mother knew the writer and knew she was looking for someone to do the illustrations. So she got us connected.
 
What do you do like to do when you’re not creating?
 
Reading novels is something I enjoy very much. As well as spending time with those I love.
 
What is your current work in progress?
 
I am currently planning out my own adventure book for children, which I will write and illustrate myself.
 
What advice do you have for someone who would like to break into illustrating for children’s books?
 
Draw; read; learn to draw children and animals; and have a website dedicated to your art alone.
 
Can you share something about yourself that is a little quirky?
 
I still collect action figures and occasionally play with them.
 
Who is your favourite author and what is your favourite genre of books?
 
Brandon Sanderson is one of my all time favourite authors. Fantasy, well written, is my absolute favourite genre.
 

Thank you, Sarah E. Nickel for being part of Beneath That Star!


 
One last note: Beneath That Star was released to the public on October 1, 2015. The original digital drawings were completed in time for the 2014 Christmas season and were used to create a video that serves as both music video for the song and trailer for the book. Since the video was released, the illustrations have been updated.
 
Here is the video for Beneath That Star:



Beneath That Star is available in my website store, on amazon.ca, amazon.com, Chapters/Indigo/Coles, Barnes & Noble, McNally Robinson Booksellers, Under His Grace Online Christian Gift Store, Heaven Sent, Universal Church Supplies, and can be ordered from numerous other bookstores across Canada.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

4 comments

  • Jill Mitchell

    Jill Mitchell Rosthern

    Great blog post! I enjoyed the interview, especially.

    Great blog post! I enjoyed the interview, especially.

  • Susan DeBeeson

    Susan DeBeeson W. Kelowna B.C. and Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico

    Thank you for this explanation of bringing a book and its illustrations together. It's helpful as I finish off the last novel of a trilogy for adults. Now hoping to rework a story for children, but of course illustration is important. Still thinking that through.

    Thank you for this explanation of bringing a book and its illustrations together. It's helpful as I finish off the last novel of a trilogy for adults. Now hoping to rework a story for children, but of course illustration is important. Still thinking that through.

  • Sally Meadows

    Sally Meadows

    Thanks, Jill, for taking the time to comment! The interview is always the best part! :)

    Thanks, Jill, for taking the time to comment! The interview is always the best part! smile

  • Sally Meadows

    Sally Meadows

    Thanks for your comments, Susan! Watch for more interviews over the next few months with other illustrators and artists! And congratulations on your upcoming publications!

    Thanks for your comments, Susan! Watch for more interviews over the next few months with other illustrators and artists! And congratulations on your upcoming publications!

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