Friday, June 9, 2017

An interview with Susie Ghahremani, SCBWI Guest Team Blogger For The Summer #LA17SCBWI Conference

Filling in for SCBWI Team Blogger Don Tate for this 2017 SCBWI Summer Conference, is award-winning illustrator Susie Ghahremani!

Illustrator Susie Ghahremani

Here's our interview:

Lee: Welcome, Susie -- The boygirlparty is in the house!

Susie: Thank you!

Lee: Please share a bit about you, and what's been your journey as a children's content creator.

Susie: I’ve been a full-time illustrator for 15 years, but only recently made my way over to kid lit! Only a few years ago, I illustrated my children’s book debut, What Will Hatch? written by Jennifer Ward (pub. Bloomsbury). The experience of working on a picture book was so unlike any of the hundreds (thousands?) of projects I worked on prior, I felt I was tapping into another career entirely. It prompted me to join SCBWI to build my knowledge and community.

I’m slowly becoming a more seasoned children’s publishing professional. Jennifer and I now share an agent — Stefanie von Borstel of Full Circle Literary; last summer, I was thrilled to be recognized with a mentorship at the portfolio show at the Los Angeles Conference (#LA16SCBWI); and my author debut Stack the Cats (pub. Abrams) ( released just a couple weeks ago!

Lee: Congratulations! Tell us about your blogging/social media/online background. What do you use, what do you love, and why?

Susie: I love social media for the constraint of its brevity and interaction. There’s no such thing as a one way transmission there; it’s a conversation.
You can find me most frequently here on Twitter and Instagram 

I also have a longform blog on my site and an extremely personal blog though I somewhat rarely post to those these days.

Recently, I became a team blogger for the SCBWI Mentorship Alumni blog: KidLitArtists — where we share process, inspiration, and tips for other SCBWI-oriented illustrators.

Lee: Now we want to hear about your journey so far with SCBWI!

Susie: I can’t say enough good things about the materials and community of SCBWI. Being part of SCBWI these past few years has given me a profound hope for my future as an artist and author: that I am working toward a life of work, not just the “next project” and that there is always more to learn, and a new direction to steer toward.

Winning one of last summer’s LA Conference mentorships gave me something I haven’t had since college: thoughtful guidance and critique from luminaries.

I enjoy the strong sense of community — both amongst fellow illustrators as well as the diverse, inspiring, noble community of publishing and education. Can I also just give a shoutout to Sarah Baker at SCBWI? She is an actual angel and nurtures so many opportunities for illustrators at all stages of their careers.

Susie's illustration (left page) in the SCBWI Bulletin

Lee: What project(s) are you currently working on?

Susie: I’m working on my next book as author-illustrator with Abrams Appleseed now — Balance the Birds! My editor, art director, and agent are incredible, insightful collaborators. I’ve also been busy with the release of Stack the Cats (lots of signings, events, etc.); working on a solo art show this autumn in Chicago; making things / shipping things / running my online shop and all the other things you might expect that add up to life and work as an author/illustrator!

Lee: The top three things you're looking forward to about #LA17SCBWI are:


* Seeing friend and fellow artist Sean Qualls present
* Filling up my sketchbook with inspiring quotes I’ll reflect on for a lifetime. (I wrote so much last year, I had to go out and buy another sketchbook mid-conference!)
* Being part of Team Blog!

Lee: Thank you so much! We're delighted you'll be joining us!

Susie: Me too! Thanks for having me!

Susie is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). When not painting, illustrating books, designing stationery and gifts, exhibiting her work internationally, running her online shop, or connecting with the illustration community, she lives in sunny San Diego with her husband and zillions of pets. Find her at or on instagram/twitter at @boygirlpartySusie

You can find out more about The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators 2017 Summer Conference here.


KarolinaS said...

OMG... Stack the Cats? MUST have. Great interview. Look forward to reading the posts during the conference!

Susie Ghahremani / @boygirlparty said...

Lee, thank you so much for reaching out to me! So excited to be part of Team Blog!