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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Welcome Illustrator Pegi Ballenger













Pegi Ballenger was born and grew up in Houston, Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Newcomb College of Tulane University in New Orleans, LA., later returning to school to study commercial art, television production, and computer graphics. Pegi has lived in several places, but has called Colorado home for almost 30 years. In addition to her art career, Pegi has worked as a copy writer, a continuity director for television, and an advertising director. She freelances as an illustrator and graphic artist, and teaches adult and children’s art classes. Two books with her illustrations have been published; KAT’S MAGIC BUBBLE and A MOUSE IN THE RABBI’S STUDY. She is a member of SCBWI and a founding member of the Pikes Peak Pastel Society. Pegi, her husband Ray, and their dog live in Woodland Park, CO
.

Tell me about your new book.

A Mouse in the Rabbi's Study is a book about a mouse trying to find a place to live for the winter. A rabbi, who is a messy eater, decides that the mouse can stay in his study if he will clean up all the rabbi's crumbs. As the weeks and months go by, the rabbi teaches the mouse about the Jewish holidays and special foods associated with each one. There is a fun surprise ending.

As an illustrator, is it challenging to create art based on a writer's words?

Yes, it can be challenging. Fortunately, most writers are good with words and can explain things well. The key, in addition to reading and re-reading the text, is to listen and ask questions. Nancy and I hit it off immediately and I understood her approach to the book right away. She wanted it to look like the time she was growing up because so much of her childhood memories are of the wonderful traditional foods her mom made. However, no matter how well I think I understand things, some rework is inevitable. When that happens I remind myself that it's part of the job and I'm grateful for it!

Was any research involved?

Yes, I had to research clothes, things from the 1950's, historical costumes, and some of the foods to make sure I was painting them correctly. At the sketching stage, the author and I would talk about any changes she thought were needed. There were very few changes after the sketches were approved.

Are you working on anything new?
I paint and show my work when I'm not illustrating, and do a little teaching as well. I'm looking for another book illustration project and hope to find one for 2009!

Pegi, thanks so much for sharing an illustrator's perspevtive. To learn more about Peg visit her web site at http://www.pegiballenger.com/

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