Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Speaker Profile - Terri Murphy


Region: Illinois
Age Levels: 5-10
Will Travel: Anywhere in the world
Skype Visit: Yes
SCBWI Profile: Member Profile
Speaker Email:

Her future was in the cards...more specifically, in the kindergarten report card. Mrs. Reid wrote that Terri showed special interest in “writing and art in all forms.” So with a fistful of crayons that turned into colored pencils and then into gouache paints and digital art, Terri now illustrates for children’s books, magazines and educational materials.  

 She gives fun and interactive school presentations focusing on her illustrated picture books, with an eye toward imparting visual literacy and creating narrative art. 

Presentation Description:

Let's Go Rambling! In my school presentations, I discuss my childhood influences in becoming an artist and a children’s book illustrator.  Using my latest illustrated picture book, One Day I Went Rambling as the centerpiece,  I show how an illustrator is similar to a movie director and must consider casting characters, mood lighting, framing, and point of view.  “Rambling” is a term used to describe using imagination to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.  In the story, a scavenger boy discovers objects that he imagines to be something else entirely, something spectacular. He gets deflated and ridiculed by the neighborhood kids. But he wins them over and later and with the help of is formerly-doubting friends, they all build something wonderful.

Benefits: Children learn that storytelling comes in a visual form too.  We search the illustration for the story within a story, and for vocabulary clues.  Imaginations are charged when a variety of exercises entice children to become ramblers. 


Live Demo! There is a live demonstration of my black-and-white inking technique that is magical in itself ….an image appears from a black inked square as it’s rinsed which elicits a lot of ooohs and ahhhs.  Lastly there is a surprise guest at the end, a character that appears throughout the book, Zane’s color-changing chameleon! It’s a toy and like the chameleon in the book, it changes color to whoever is having a creative idea. (And I’ll prove it!)

Pre-prep…Go Rambling!  Challenge children to ramble outside or in junk drawers to build something out of bits and pieces.  Study famous "rambling" artists like Louise Nevelson, Kevin Blythe Sampson and Zak Freeman.

Length of presentation: 45 minutes.  Requires AV projection.