Pamela Czarniak Talks About Illustrating The Snickerdoodle Mystery

Pilinut Press:  What got you interested in art?


Pam: As far back as kindergarten, I've loved drawing and painting. My mother always bought me the art supplies I wanted, like the coveted 64 Crayola pack! She was always very supportive of my art endeavors.


Pilinut Press:  Do you have any artists who influenced your artistic development?  What inspired you?


Pam: The artists that influenced my artistic development are painters, such as Van Gogh, Soutine, and Chagall. I am inspired by other children's illustrators, such as Jan Brett, David Catrow, Judy Schachner, David Shannon, Ian Falconer, Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith, and many others.


Pilinut Press:  How do you think your training helped you?


Pam:  At Daemen College in Buffalo, N.Y., Professor James Allen taught me many drawing and painting techniques, and was very supportive in my artistic development. Also, the late Professor James Kuo taught me very much as my watercolor instructor.


Pilinut Press:  “The Snickerdoodle Mystery” is set in America in the 1950’s.  What elements did you use in the artwork to support that concept?  How did you research the era to find out what would create the feel of the 1950’s?


Pam: I supported that concept in the clothing and decor, such as an aqua kitchen refrigerator. I researched the era on the internet, where many photos of the 50's can be found. My mom also told me about her life in the 50's.


Pilinut Press:  How did you come up with the ideas for the illustrations?


Pam:  I started sketching many ideas, and elaborated on the drawings I liked the most.


Pilinut Press:  You have a distinctive style and use of color.  How did you develop that?  Was it a conscious set of choices or is this what comes out when you put your hand to paper?


Pam: I learned a lot about color in college, and various classes I've taken, along with reading about artists and painters. The colors in this book were conscious choices, in that the era determined some of them, and the others were complimentary to those, but sometimes color choices just flow from the unconscious as well!


Pilinut Press:  What is your process for doing the illustrations?


Pam: I sketch my idea first in pencil, and perfect the compositions I like the most. After transferring it onto watercolor paper, I paint it in watercolors, then highlight with Prisma Color colored pencils.


Pilinut Press:  What is different about illustrating a book from producing other forms of art?  What did you find challenging?  Would you do it again?


Pam: It’s different in that you have to create the same characters in different situations. It's also challenging to get continuity through out the book. I would love to illustrate many more books, it’s fun and fulfilling!


Pilinut Press:  What advice would you give to a young person who wants to become an artist?


Pam: I would say keep drawing and practicing. Draw anything—your dog, your brother or sister, or a chair! Going to an art college or university can open up many possibilities.


Pilinut Press:  Is there anything else you would like to add?


Pam:  I really appreciated the opportunity to illustrate this book, and I hope to illustrate many more projects in the future! I hope you enjoy my illustrations!


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