A Mini-Interview with Laura Jacobsen

This is the third week of our Mini-Interview Series and we are starting Laura Jacobsen‘s week.

Do you know Laura? Have you seen her work? Have you seen her books? Have you? Have you?! Her work is bold. Her illustrations are beautiful and her sketches are fantastic. As a person, Laura is also bold, beautiful and fantastic but she’s also generous and honest – two qualities I so admire from her. Laura was the first real-3D-bone-and-flesh children’s illustrator that I ever met. Ever. And I’m really glad it was her. But that’s a long story that I won’t tell you now. This week is all about her: the wonderful Laura Jacobsen.

Do we have a Giveaway this week? Heck, yeah! Laura is giving away a signed, matted original (that’s real pastel on real paper!) from the Animal Mischief book and a signed copy of the book so don’t forget to read below for how to enter. You are up for a real treat so get ready! Without further ado, the most talented Laura Jacobsen!

Laura Jacobsen
About Laura Jacobsen

Laura Jacobsen is a children’s illustrator, dog mama and baker of a mean butterscotch oatmeal cookie. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter or on her website at www.laurajacobsen.com

Would you describe yourself in 5 words?

Sassy, soft-hearted, snarky, sentimental and strange.

Now tell us how you got started as a children’s author and illustrator in more than 5 words.

Growing up reading, writing and drawing, one would think I would have been planning this since the beginning, but in reality, it didn’t really dawn on me until my high school art teacher offered me a scholarship to The Columbus College of Art and Design. I was all set to go off to a “regular” college, but my Mom and I went down for a visit anyway. I still can clearly remember saying to her as we left “I HAVE to learn how to do this, I just HAVE to.” And that was that, much to my PhD in Analytical Chemistry father’s trepidation (sorry Dad, and thanks for all the support anyway.) Even then I intially majored in Retail Advertising (WHAT was I thinking) and it wasn’t until I realized that I despised all of my major’s classes that I started looking at Illustration. Telling stories is what I love the most, whether in words or pictures. It seems so obvious now.

Bear by Laura Jacobsen

What was your favorite book as a child?

Books were such a pervasive part of my childhood, I’m not sure I can come up with just one. They were always around, stacked in piles, sliding out of those paper library bags with the handles my Mom would re-use until they fell apart. I did not own many books, books were special gifts since you could get them for FREE at the library, so the ones I returned to again and again on the shelves in my bedroom were the few that had belonged to my Mom and a handful I received as birthday gifts. “Ferdinand the Bull” by Munro Leaf, “The Little House” by Virginia Lee Burton and Richard Scarry‘s “What Do People Do All Day” stand out in my memory, as well as the first book I ever received and love deeply to this day, “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats. See, can’t stop at just one.

Sewing by Laura Jacobsen

One lesson you have learned from working in this industry.

Make your own content, don’t wait for it to come to you. I only just recently learned this. Yes, I’m a bit slow. O.K., I’m A LOT slow.

Halloween by Laura Jacobsen

The happiest moment of your career.

Rather than a singular moment, I would have to say the best part, and the thing that makes me happiest, is being able to do what I love thanks to the support and unshakeable belief from my wonderful hubby and the tribe of artist and writer friends to which I belong. When I take a moment to really contemplate my good fortune I am so filled with joy it would make you want to puke.

What’s next for you?

Hopefully good health and old age. In addition to that, I’d really, REALLY like to move on to publishing my own stories (see Question 3 above.) I would also like to learn to ski, go on a wine tour of Italy and finally do something with all the batik supplies in my garage.

I Wuv You by Laura Jacobsen

Laura’s Giveaway

Laura is giving away a signed, matted original (that’s real pastel on real paper!) from the “Animal Mischief” book and a signed copy of the book. The winner will be randomly chosen from all entries, and announced Monday November 21, 2011.

Ways to enter:

  • Leave a comment below
  • Follow Laura on Twitter @LauraJacobsen1 and copy this retweet on your status:
    RT @LauraJacobsen1 Enter to win an original illustration #giveaway
  • Friend her on Facebook

  • Sidewinder by Laura Jacobsen

    Part 2 of Laura’s interview continues tomorrow at Molly’s blog. Part 3 will be posted Thursday at Mikela’s blog and the Grand Finale will be posted Monday at Laura’s blog so follow the Post Trail!

  • This post is part of a very informal and fun 4-week Mini-Interview Series to Children’s Illustrators who happen to be friends and happen to live in Arizona. In these posts, we will be interviewing:

  • Molly Idle – November 1-4
  • Mikela Prevost – November 8-11
  • Laura Jacobsen – November 15-18
  • Juana Martinez-Neal – November 22-25
  • You can learn more about the guests and the Series here.


    • Since I am already a fb friend and a follower on twitter I guess I will just have to leave a comment. ;) But seriously, I met Laura face to face for the first time in the late 90’s at the L.A. scbwi conference after being internet buddies for years prior to that. She is my “sister” and a dear, sweet and caring person. Love that girl!!

      OK…now I wanna win that art!!!! ;)

      November 15, 2011
    • Laura, you are a hoot! I love your sense of humor and your candid reftections on yourself. And I really love the two pieces – the cold bear standing at the door, and the little mouse drawing the valentine. Your colors are so rich! Good work girl!

      November 15, 2011
    • Beautiful work, Laura! Make your own content… this is probably one of the most important aspects of ’em all! :)

      November 15, 2011
    • I love the snarkiness and sassiness of this interview, Laura. Not to mention the illustrations–the hoop skirt one is great, and your mouse is really cute!

      I certainly sympathize with the reluctance to enter this profession. I started as a business major. What kind of craziness is it to switch to art? It has to be the creative craziness that makes us artists. I’ve enjoyed making that connection with you. Look forward to seeing your published writing, too.

      Now, what do I win?

      November 15, 2011
    • Jo Ellen Bogart

      I love the complexity and colour of your work, plus the great use of light and shadow. I am glad I came across this interview.

      November 15, 2011
    • John Traynham

      Laura is a superb artist, with a wonderful spirit, and the most naturally photogenic person I’ve ever known…and I wanna win the art too ;-) But Phyllis is such a wonderful person, like Laura, how could I say I wanna win too…sorry Phyllis!!

      November 15, 2011
    • Even though I already know Laura, I really enjoyed reading this interview and learning more about her. As an artist myself (writer), I can identify with her path in life. I love Laura’s work and can’t wait to see what she does next. :-)

      November 15, 2011
    • This is a great Mini Interview series. Looking forward to reading the other interviews!

      November 15, 2011
    • Great interview Laura! Looking forward to reading more and your mouse illustration is simply adorable!

      November 15, 2011
    • Laura is one of my absolute favorite illustrators. I talked to her over the years just by phone and email. When I was lucky enough to meet her, she was as cool as ever. I have a question for you, Laura: Have you ever found yourself tackling on a scene in which you just KNOW the text should read a tiny bit different for not only the sake of the illustration but that of the story as well? If so, how you ever voiced your thoughts? Just wondering.

      November 15, 2011
      • Hi Catalina-all that right back at you! I’ve done quite a few illustrations where I really wished I could ‘tweak” the text, but I do think it’s important to remember the collaborative nature of any book project. I have to respect the author’s vision just like they have to respect mine. I will speak up if it is something that is impossible to illustrate, or glaringly inaccurate. I think I’ve gotten my way maybe once. :->

        November 15, 2011
    • One of my favorite FB buddies!! It’s been so great getting to know you, Laura. Congrats on your wonderful life as an illustrator. :)

      November 15, 2011
    • Cathy Bonnell

      Laura is just a unique person all the way around–love your fresh, honest & real comments on just about everything. Most of all I love your fabulous art. If I don’t win, I’m so coming to your house to see what you have for sale!

      November 15, 2011
    • The first time I was made aware of Laura’s work was when I picked up a postcard with the bear at the door illustration. I think it might have been at the SCBWI L.A. Conference, not sure. But I just fell madly in love with that illustration. Madly! Immediately went to her site and couldn’t even believe the gems I found there!

      Now we’re friends on FB and she is a delightful person! So now I need to follow on twitter and, hee hee, get a chance at the big prize… weeeeee!

      Great interview too, btw!

      November 15, 2011
    • Linda Weller

      Laura is such a sweet, talented, encourager, with the most delightful sense of humor….who can pull off wearing a tiara with anything,…even hip boots! So glad she followed her heart and did indeed-“…learn how to do this!” Her passion and joy shine through her amazing artwork and I look forward to hearing …the rest of the story,…and winning an original treasure!

      November 15, 2011
    • I went to school with Laura, but got tp know her better after college. I wish I had the magic and character in my own work that Laura has in hers. Plus I make crappy cookies.

      November 15, 2011
    • I love my snarky, sweet friend, Laura! So much attitude and so much warmth at the same time. What a dynamo combination! And her work! Wow! It’s truly an honor to be friends with someone so talented. I look forward to seeing and reading what will come next as Laura’s work evolves. Great interview. Fun to read. Thank you!

      November 16, 2011
    • My cousin (Amanda Shepherd) told me about your page. I have 2 little girls at home who love to read books with beautiful illustrations. We will be looking for your books from now on. Gorgeous work!

      November 16, 2011
    • want,love,laura oh laura-my snarky friend, old buddy old pal-dont tweet-does that disqualify me?? already am friend on FB. now I’m totally confused. love laura’s work, so beautiful. I will puke if i dont get it…. :)

      November 16, 2011
    • Auntie Edie

      You are new to me, Miss Laura but niece Mandy thinks very highly of you… and now that I have seen some of your work, I can see why. We are a book loving family and especially love those with wonderful illustrations that capture the imagination. Yours seem to do just that! We will be looking for your name now on books that we find and hope to see lots of you there

      November 16, 2011
    • Great to learn more about you, Laura! And of course I love your beautiful work!

      November 16, 2011
    • Tracey Grant

      I was introduced to Laura’s work through my sister Amanda Sheperd. Laura’s illustrations are beautiful and captivating. I hate snakes, but I love her snake drawing! I also love that she describes herself as “snarky” as I didn’t know that anyone else in this world besides me used that word in their daily language!

      November 16, 2011
    • One of my instructors at art school first turned me onto Laura’s work. Absolutely beautiful stuff.

      November 17, 2011
    • What a wonderful interview! Laura’s work is bold and fabulous! Thanks for such great mini-interviews and a chance at the giveaway..off to follow now!

      November 20, 2011

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