Inside the Author/Illustrator’s Cranium: Diane Jay

I’m delighted to feature author/illustrator, Diane Jay. If I were to sum her up in one word, it would have to be effervescent! Diane’s work includes three children’s picture book manuscripts about a mouse with a passion for fashion, screenwriting, and poetry. She is currently writing a YA novel that deals with a poignant political issue. Besides that, she holds an Advanced Certificate in Creative Writing from Stony Brook University, Southampton, NY. She is a Children’s Lit Fellow and a Graduate Student at Southern Methodist University with a concentration in Creative Writing. When she isn’t writing, she is drawing, and what she likes most about working from home is spending time with her silly lovable bulldog and labradoodle. To learn more about Diane visit her  at http://www.djaystudio.com

Here is Diane in her own words:

1. What’s your favorite word? Nununu – I used this word as a toddler to express my love. My entire family latched onto this word, and it is our special way of saying, “I love you.” Examples are given, “I nununu you. You’re so nunuie. Nununu, as a way of saying, goodbye.”

2. What’s your least favorite word? Ooze. It’s a strong visual yuck word.

3. Describe your style of writing: The images that I draw and write about are mostly for children and young adults. There are two singular ideas I hope to convey. The first is to make the reader smile with delight. If my work gives a few moments of escape from the burdening issues of today, then I have attained my goal. The other is to teach compassion and understanding.

4. Describe your work ethic: My work ethic revolves around prompting the reader to ask deeper questions of themselves. I lean toward consideration and want my reader to feel and question their beliefs.

5. What is your favorite medium and why? Writing is my favorite medium. I’m drawing a picture with my words. My color palette is the dictionary or made up words that I mix to form a visual.

6. What’s your best advice for writers? Join a writing group and gain feedback. We all tend to love our work, but we need a critical eye.

7. What’s your best advice for illustrators? The same as above. You need eyes on your work and not your family or close friends. You need people that will give you honest feedback.

8. What inspires you to create your art? The curious world around me. Recently I created a poem from watching the way an airline operated by letting certain passengers enter the plane first. I found it amusing and let my poem exaggerate the process.

9. Who are your favorite visual artists and/or composers? I love too many artists for their work. From childhood, I was exposed to musicals, art, and writing. I admire the artists that share, for they are exposing themselves. That is a gift.

10. Who are your real life heroes? Samantha Berger (Author/Illustrator) – My mentor as a Children’s Lit Fellow. She gave me creative encouragement.

Gary Swaim (Texas Sr. Poet Laureate 2011 and Author, Professor Southern Methodist University) – Gary pushed me to write. Before attending SMU, I focused my skill on painting and other creative crafts.

Jules Feiffer (Cartoonist and Author, Pulitzer Prize cartoonist in 1986) – He doesn’t know how much I admire his work.

There are many more heroes: Emma Walton Hamilton, Katie Davis, Julie Gribble, and especially YOU! I feel so honored to have you as my Facebook friend.

Editor’s note: Aww, Blush, and Thanks!

11. What intrigues you? Funny, the small things that most people take for granted. An example is watching someone use a floor polisher.

12. What annoys you? Racists, Bigots, and Intolerance

13. What profession/job other than writing and illustrating would you like to try?Teaching

14. What profession/job would you never try? I’d like to try everything once.

15. What natural talents have you been gifted with? Enormous Sensitivity. Sometimes this can be a curse.

16. Assuming there will be an afterlife, who would you like to meet and why? My father. He died when I was seventeen years old, and I have a lot of questions for him that I didn’t ask or wonder about now. He was one of the first architects in the state of Texas.

17. What is your favorite work motto/mantra? “A good organizer is a social arsonist who goes around setting people on fire.”  – Fred Ross, Sr.

18. Any advice about handling rejections? Rejection means you are putting your work out there. Don’t turn one piece in and sit and wait. Start working on the next piece and so on. Rejection means I applaud you for sharing. Art is all about the sharing.

19. Describe your studio/workspace. I have a guest bedroom with a large desk and cabinets for storage. I rarely use the office. I spend most of my time on my laptop in the TV area or living room. However, the most important asset in working is to have the constant background noise of my English bulldog snoring. He is doing it right now at my feet.


















About Linda Boyden

Teacher. Author. Artist. Storyteller. Poet. I write a poem a day. A picture book each month. I write novels for kids. I color in and out of the lines. I help young children love words and stories. I believe laughter comes straight from the Creator who put us on this fine Earth so we can help one another do our best.

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