Kathy Shoemaker

My mother says that I was born
on the coldest January day in Vancouver
history. Maybe that's why I prefer cold and snowy
weather to hot. When I was seven years old my family moved
to Southern California. We arrived on a very warm and sunny day in
January. I was amazed to see palm trees growing everywhere. As a child I loved to draw, to read and especially to sit and draw while my mother or one of my teachers read or told stories to me.
To this day I often listen to books on tape or radio as I work on illustrations.

Except for a brief time in my
teens when I wanted to become a doctor,
I always wanted to illustrate and write books. My sister
and I were given lots of time and interesting materials to work with
when we were children. Our mother and father mad our home resourceful
and creative as they loved art. As well as making their own furniture, they created
a garden, cooked wonderful meal, played the piano, guitar and mandolin. Both my sister
and I turned our childhood playng with pen, paper, paint and cloth into our lifetime work. After
graduating from University in California I worked for a large school district as a learning
materials designer and art consultant. My first illustrated book was about children
writing and illustrating their own books - since I have illustrated 29 books,
hundred of pages of textbooks, cards and posters.


Does it take long to illustrate a book?

"I would be happy to sit and paint and draw all day everyday but of course there are other things one has to do. If I have a tight schedule for a project I might leave to work 12-14 hours a day. I prefer to paint about 6-8 hours to give my head and eyes a rest and come back with a refreshed view."

Is it hard to do?

Sometimes it is hard to balance my work with my responsibilities as a mother and as an active community person, so that the quality of the work is not lost or unfocussed.

Who has inspired you?

There are too many people to name who have inspired me in different ways. Barbara Cooney
has always has been my favourite illustrator and especially like to look to her as an
example of a woman who is actively working in her eighties. I plan to work
as long as I live, and I believe that might be 100 plus. My daugther
inspires me because she sees life, colour, shaped in new ways. I am a
optomist. I believe we can solve problems in the world, maybe not as quickly
as would be good, but in time.

Published Works:

Right Choices; Los Ninos Alfabeticos;

Jenny’s Neighbours,

Creative Christmas

My Animal Friends

A Telling Time by Irene N.Watts, illustated by Kathryn E. Shoemaker

Tradewind Books Floyd Flamingo and his Flock of Friends by Tiffany Stone, illustrated by Kathy



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