Behind the Book: Hello, Little Dreamer
last updated 23 November 2020
Meet Anita Schmidt, the wonderful Bright Artist behind the glowing lanterns of Hello, Little Dreamer, Kathie Lee Gifford’s recently published picture book about children’s God-given purpose in the world. Hello, Little Dreamer graced shelves in early October with HarperCollins Christian and has received well-deserved praise for it’s message and “undeniably cute illustrations” (Kirkus Reviews). We were thrilled to sit down with Anita and learn more about the process of illustrating this beloved title!
Hello, Little Dreamer is a make-believe story encouraging real purpose in children’s lives. What was your inspiration in creating a world children would learn life lessons from?
My own children were a huge inspiration during this project. I also had a flashback into my own childhood and how I felt as a kid. I wanted to create fun and relatable artwork so readers could really dive into the message. I also wanted to bring some sort of magic to it through perspective and color.
The illustrations in Hello, Little Dreamer have a certain glow and bring a sense of nostalgia. Can you walk us through your creative process from your first sketch to the final spreads of this title?
My first steps are always the sketches. Sometimes I do thumbnails before, but in this case I skipped this step because the spreads already had specific descriptions. We played with different ideas but this is the final product.
After the sketches I went straight to color, making sure all of it was on seperate layers, so a change of color would be easier.
We’d love to hear about your experience working with Kathie Lee Gifford’s Art Director, Jen Showalter! What was it like to collaborate with her, and what did you take away from that experience that you will continue to use in your career?
I loved working with Jen. She had precise ideas about how the book should look, but still gave me enough creative freedom. This project (and all others in the past) gave me more confidence in my work. I also learned that during the process of creating artwork, mine and the clients views can change. You have to be flexible not only regarding the art, but also in your mind. Sometimes it is hard to let go of a choice you made, but in the end it almost always ends up being better than the original idea!
Hello, Little Dreamer celebrates different dreams and purposes. Did you resonate with the meaning in any way? If so, did this somehow influence your illustrations?
Yes I absolutely resonated with the meaning. When working on Hello, Little Dreamer, there were multiple times when I felt I was a child again. It’s difficult to follow your dreams when you’re young and everyone around you tells you what is best for you. It’s important to show children that they are unique and wonderful for exactly who they are. As a child, I had adults telling me I couldn’t do certain things, but now I realize they were wrong.