Get To Know Our Illustrator: Carolyn Le

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How long have you been a member of SCBWI? What’s the most impactful thing you have learned from being in SCBWI?

I’m not sure when I joined SCBWI.  I take a break when everything feels too overwhelming. Being part of a community, you can’t create in a cave. 

What medium(s) do you use to illustrate? If more than one, which do you prefer?

My favorite mediums are watercolor and Procreate. I prefer both, depending on the project. My illustration process includes thumbnail sketches, research, more research, and finished line sketches. Then I start to paint, laying in the colors for the background to establish mood. I paint the background, middleground, then foreground, working from mid-values to dark values to highlights and large areas to fine details. 

How long have you been illustrating? How did you first get into illustration?

I’ve been illustrating for 20+ years. I majored in illustration in college but didn’t pursue it until I read a picture book to my nephew.

Are you self taught or did you study illustration? If you did study illustration, what school did you attend?

I am both self-taught and attending an art school. I went to Otis for 3 years. Then after graduation I continued to take classes, workshops, and read books whenever time/ work permitted. I constantly want to improve. 

Do you have a dedicated art space? If so, is it in your home or outside your home?

I don’t have a dedicated art space. I’m usually in my living room on my couch on the iPad. That’s why I switched to the iPad, for convenience. 

What would be your dream book to illustrate?

My dream book to illustrate would include stories with heart, smart writing, and magic. My agent and I are currently out on submission with a story that I’ve written and illustrated. Meanwhile, I’m revising another story that I’ve written. 

Any tips for illustrators that are starting out?

A tip I would give to illustrators starting out would be to be patient. Getting published can be a long process. Don’t give up on yourself: keep learning, keep growing.

Do you currently have an agent?

My agent is Mona Kanin at Great Dog Literary. She found me when I tweeted an image and pitch on a picture book pitch Twitter (X) event. 

If you have won any illustration awards or have any books published, please list them here. 

My illustrations have won the following awards:

SCBWI SoCal Illustration Award, Gold medal Reader’s Choice Award, Runner-up in Key Colors —Clavis Publishing Picture Book Competition, Honorable Mention—Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, and SCBWI San Diego Portfolio Showcase Honor Award. I illustrated Which Animal is Fastest? By Brian Rock, Arbordale Publishing. 

List 3 to 5 interesting things about yourself.

Some interesting facts about me are thatI love watching the history channels, I carved my first jack-o-lantern last year, and I enjoy ballroom dancing.

Where can people find you?

You can connect with me on:  

Instagram: crlynle

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