Interview with Kelly Anne Dalton

Kelly Anne Dalton is a multi-published illustrator working in picture books and licensing.


About Kelly Anne

Some of Kelly Anne’s projects include the immensely popular Tarot for Baby by Abigail Samoun, Aesops Fables translated by Auzou, and she has created the cover art for several novels by Karen Schwabach for Penguin Random House. In addition she has created editorial illustrations, greeting cards, posters, and so much more! She has been a professional artist for 14 years and has tons of experience to share!

Interview with Kelly Anne Dalton


Do you think there is a difference between an artist's voice and an artist's style? How do they inform each other in your work? 

I do think there is a difference. An artist's voice is their unique creative expression, rooted in personal experiences and emotions, giving soul to their work. An artist's style, on the other hand, is the distinct technique and aesthetics used to portray their vision. In my work, my love for nature, historical architecture, and a little splash of make-believe drives my voice, while my intricate illustrations and attention to detail form my artistic style. The end goal is for voice and style to blend harmoniously, creating enchanting and captivating images that leave a lasting impact on the audience.

Do you believe that your artistic style evolved naturally or that you have to chase it down/cobble it together from disparate parts? 

I’ve been drawing since I was a little girl, so I would say it evolved naturally. As life goes on, everything I observe and experience adds a sprinkle of energy into my work. The key is to keep exploring!

What is something you wish you could do with your work? Do you have a goal that you are trying to push yourself towards?

I’m always trying to get faster without losing quality, but it never seems to work. :)

Do you have a regular sketchbook practice that renews and generates your creativity? If so, what is the greatest thing you have learned from this practice? 

I don’t have a regular practice, but I do start every project in my sketchbook (on paper). I feel it gives ideas room to breathe and develop without pressure.

Do you think that artistic abilities (either writing, illustrating or otherwise) are something that can be learned or is it an inborn talent that some people are gifted with?

I believe we all possess inherent creativity that can be nurtured to any desired extent with time and sustained inspiration. The key lies in dedicating time and maintaining the spark of inspiration to keep going. Our artistic abilities are shaped through consistent honing, and dedicating many hours to our craft is crucial. Without the desire to be creative, engaging in such work can prove challenging.


Fun Facts About Kelly Anne

She grew up in a Victorian lakeside cottage resort in Pennsylvania known as The Town Time Forgot”


She Loves Math

She has an Economics degree, went to grad school, and then worked as an economist and real estate analyst before pursuing her art career full time.


Run Run Run

She has a huge crush on trail running. In the past three years She’s run over 5000 miles with 300,000+feet in elevation gain (the equivalent of 10 trips up Mt. Everest).

Draw, draw, draw, and share, share, share! 

At our retreat this fall, The Wild Wonder Illustration Camp, you have generously agreed to come teach a class for us about character and storytelling! Can you give us one small tip as a sneak peek of what we can expect from your presentation? 

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." - George Bernard Shaw

I’d like to rephrase that: “Good stories aren’t about finding characters. Good stories are about creating characters.”

In this workshop, we’ll challenge the idea of "finding" characters externally and delve into the untapped potential within ourselves to craft captivating and authentic characters and stories. Embrace the strength of your internal voice and experiences as you are led on a transformative journey of self-expression and creativity.

The most potent characters and stories lie within us. By harnessing our internal voice and experiences, we unlock the ability to craft something truly unique. Unleash your storytelling prowess and master the art of “creating” characters that deeply resonate with readers. Let your imagination soar as you bring to life narratives that are genuinely one-of-a-kind.

By JEANNE BOWMAN, SCBWI Montana, Aug 3, 2023

Jeanne is the Illustrator Coordinator for SCBWI Montana and a published illustrator. Recent works include The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde for Familius Publishing as well as Charlie Russell and the Gnomes of Bull Head Lodge by Emily Crawford Wilson for The South Dakota Historical Society Press.