The Joy of Art in OLD TO JOY: A Short Q&A with Author-Illustrator Anita Crawford Clark

Thanks for dropping by the blog again, Anita. We are gradually getting closer to the release of OLD TO JOY, and we know you have been hard at work creating characters and scenes readers will want to visit time and again. We would love to know more about how you came up with your main character, Joy. Also, what are some things you would like us to know about her character journey?


Joy came about from memories of my own childhood and visits to my grandmother’s home. Grandmother’s home was older, most of the people on her street were older retired folks. The trees were mature which I equated to being old. And there seemed to be many old, perhaps antique items about her house. In retrospect, all the things that seemed old to me as a child, were truly precious and valuable, and just like Joy I came to realize this and appreciate the beauty in these things. But mostly, like Joy, I came to appreciate the beauty and blessedness of the woman I called grandmama.


Grandmama is a central figure in this story and appears in many of the scenes with Joy. This means you have had to pay a lot of attention to character consistency details in your artwork, which is not an easy task. What tips do you have for illustrators with similar challenges?


Yes. Character consistency throughout an illustrated story is important and challenging. The first step I took towards learning to do this was to take courses that focused on character development. These include courses with Larissa Marantz at OC Art Studios, Children’s Book Academy, Storyteller Academy and many hours of trial and error. However, my best tip is to illustrate stories and characters you adore and enjoy bringing to life on the page. Have fun! Celebrate the little wins along the way. Be grateful for the joy it is to play in this creative playground known as art.


There is so much that goes into the creative process, and there is no doubt you've put your whole heart into illustrating Joy's story. As the illustrator, is there one spread or page in the book that you've particularly enjoyed creating more than others? If so, what is it? And do you mind sharing a sneak peek of something from the book?


I love so many of the spreads in this story and I’m enjoying creating each one. But if I had to choose a favorite, it would be the spread showing Joy and her grandmama looking up with pure happiness and appreciation for nature, huge smiles painted across their faces, and just being in that magical moment with the sun shining down on them, and all is well in the world.


This is a sneak peek of Joy just before the moment I described in my favorite spread. On this page, there are subtle details and hints and anticipation of what’s to come on the next few pages.

And, we saved a couple of details from this page for the readers, too! We know they will be eager to find out what captivates Joy (and this adorable cat) so much. For now ... we all have to wait. Thank you for giving us this beautiful look at what is to come!





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