(Edited) I love to hear from other illustrators on their process, how they got started, and what they are currently working on. Here is an interview with Dani Jones.
image © Dani Jones all rights reserved
Dani started freelance illustrating in 2005. She has made illustrations for children’s books, magazines, and educational materials. Along with illustrating other people’s stories Dani has created many of her own including her webcomic My Sister the Freak and her and her sister’s seasonal story Frosty the Gourdman. She is always hard at work on her current projects and is bubbling over with creativity.
How did you know you wanted to illustrate stories for children?
Truth is – I didn’t always know! I spent most all of college thinking that I was going to go into editorial illustration or something. At times, I even avoided children’s illustration. However, I had a few professors and colleagues who were very enthusiastic about children’s books. In my last semester or so, I really started to enjoy it. It’s a good thing too, because I love drawing cute stuff.
What has been your favorite project thus far in your career?
My favorite projects have been my personal projects that I’ve done on the side of my client work. I have really gotten into writing comics and stories over the past few years, and it has been some of my most fulfilling work I’ve ever created. My webcomic My Sister the Freak jumpstarted it all and has become my ongoing pet project. My personal favorite though is probably Frosty the Gourdman, a Halloween comic I made with my sister.
What benefits have you experience from having a web comic?
My webcomic always gives me something to work on that will build my body of work. It has been incredibly helpful in keeping me producing and creating. It’s also given me the confidence and drive to keep writing and creating other stories.
What is your next big project?
I am working on two picture books – Monsters vs. Kittens and Once Upon a Time for Stan Lee’s Kids Universe of 1821 Comics. This is the first time that my own stories, both written and illustrated by me, have been picked up by a publisher so I’m excited about it and can’t wait for people to see them.
How did you get involved in Stan Lee’s new children’s comics imprint?
They found me through my online comics. I think I got on their radar around the time I released Frosty the Gourdman. My Sister the Freak had been running for a few months by that time too. They looked at a lot of my work and stayed in touch off and on for about a year when they eventually expressed definite interest in MvK and OUAT.
You have undertaken some massive endeavors such as the Illustrated Section. What motivated you to move forward with these projects?
I created The Illustrated Section mostly because I was frustrated. I had just bought an iPad and was getting into comics. I was interested in both buying and selling digital books, but there wasn’t a very easy way to do either. This was especially true for illustrated books and picture books because layout and file formats can be so confusing. So, I started a website myself where me and other artists could sell digital comics and books together, so great stuff by indie artists would be easy to find and simple to buy and read.
It seems like you have already undertaken a lot in your career. What other goals would you like to share with us?
My goal is to continue making original stories and sharing them, whether that be online or through publication. I have lots of ideas brewing in my head and I hope they all find a home and an audience someday.