Get to Know Our Illustrator: Jon St. Amant

scbwi_Socal_logo on navy rectangle for right half of hero.png

I've been a member of SCBWI for about 8 years. The most impactful thing I've learned from being part of this organization is the importance of community. Receiving feedback, support, and learning from writers and illustrators of diverse backgrounds and skills has profoundly helped me develop my skills as a visual storyteller. 

The media I primarily use is my ipad (Procreate), but I do enjoy drawing traditionally with col-erase pencils and Kuretake or Gasenfude brush pens. Typically, I sketch out my roughs using Procreate with a red chalk brush, then I'll lower the opacity, add a layer on top, and use a very pressure-sensitive ink brush for the final layer. If it's a stand-alone image, I'll add color on a new layer below. If it's a comic page, I'll get it flatted, then add color on a separate layer. 

Even though my college major was in the fine arts (Drawing and Painting), I always gravitated away from abstraction and toward narrative art. Soon after college, I rebelled against my fine arts training and started an allegorical series of drawings and paintings about ninjas, robots, and different creatures called Nowhereland. After graduating with my BFA from Cal State Long Beach, I went back to get my teaching credential for art. One of the requirements was to take an illustration class and I really loved the challenging projects. 

My art space is a little 130 sq ft art studio separate from the house in my backyard. I'm in the process of installing heating and A/C so I can spend more time there during the winter and summer.

My dream project would be to do a silly/derpy graphic novel of a serious book like Shogun, Game of Thrones, or a John Steinbeck novel. My current project is illustrating the book my wife wrote called Three Bee Honey. The story follows the adventures of three bee sisters as they choose between their passion for music and loyalty to their dying hive. We successfully crowdfunded the first 65 pages as a 1st chapter mini graphic novel. The entire story is out on submission with our agent as a two-book series. Besides illustrating, I have plans to write and illustrate some of my own series, including Chubicorn, and his ancient ancestor Cavecorn.  

The advice I give my art students is to make a list of your favorite artists and draw their work from observation. You learn a lot just by the experience of drawing from a source. If possible, see how they sketch out their drafts, compose pages, and add color. YouTube is a great resource to study their process. 

I am represented by Janna Morishima of Janna Co Lit Agency. She represents my wife as well. Janna offered us representation not long after we presented our Three Bee Honey story to Kids Comics Unite (an international kids comics social network that Janna runs) through a Hot Seat critique event. She has been our #1 cheerleader as we have navigated the world of publishing. By the way, I highly recommend joining Kids Comics Unite if you are interested in a robust network of creatives who make (write and/or illustrate) comics and graphic novels for kids. 

You can connect with me here:;; Instagram: @jonsaintamant

Get to Know Our Illustrators: More Interviews