PictureBookBuzz: Tell us about yourself.
Heather: I chose Fine Art as my major in 3rd grade (really). I auditioned and attended magnet schools focused on the arts since elementary school. For a couple years I drifted off to theatre (which probably sprouted my love of plays and writing…and using eccentric voices when reading aloud to my son), but I always came back to art.
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, I left to receive my BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute. There I witnessed my first snow flake (a story in itself), met my now husband, and put down roots.
My Lil’ Ninja was born six years ago. He is the spark that began my journey into the world of Children’s Books. And finding so many picture books that still entertain and engross me as an adult guarantees this journey won’t be ending anytime soon.
PictureBookBuzz: Tell us about the main character in Mac and Cheese and the Personal Space Case.
Heather: When I read Jolene Gutiérrez’s manuscript, I instantly had a feeling of how the main character would look. Oliver is a young curious boy who loves studying the interactions of the class pets and is trying to relate to his friends in a similar fashion. I love that his character is also an artist. The way he reacts to situations throughout Jolene’s story shows his inquisitive and quirky nature, but also how caring he is. He may have some things to learn, but his heart is definitely in the right place.
PictureBookBuzz: What are you currently working on?
Heather: I am currently working on the interior illustrations for Mac and Cheese. I’m also working on two other dummies and some self-mandated artwork to help keep everything from becoming too polished (sometimes mistakes or a bit of roughness is needed to keep the spirit of an illustration alive).
PictureBookBuzz: If you could give advice to illustrators who haven’t published yet, or an earlier version of yourself, what would you want to share?
Heather: I still feel like an early version of myself, but the advice is probably exactly what others have told me: keep at it. When you are to the point of screaming or crying because you are just so close, but not quite there? Keep at it. It’s around the corner. It may be quite a few corners, but if you feel that you must write, you must illustrate, simply to connect with one child someday? Then keep at it. You are headed in the right direction.
PictureBookBuzz: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Heather: You can find more of my work at heatherbellbooks.com. I’m also on Twitter: @heatherbell37 and Instagram: @heather.bell37
We are a group of picture book authors and illustrators whose first picture books will be released in 2019. Read about our roads to publication here.