In Conversation With Ebony Glenn
last updated 10 May 2023
Interview by Rachel Moffat
We caught up with Ebony Glenn, and spoke all about her creative process, inspirations and advice.
Your work is aesthetically unique to you. How do you approach translating your ideas to the page?
There’s a lot of planning that’s involved whenever I translate my ideas to paper. When illustrating a book, I may do some research to understand a topic more thoroughly or read similar picture books to get inspired. But I find it best to simply spend time alone in quiet contemplation with my ideas before I illustrate. This allows my imagination to run wild, inspiration to find me, and my intuition to lead the way.
My illustrations always begin with an idea and then a sketch. It doesn’t matter if my ideas are drawn in a sketchbook or on my iPad, so long as I get them out of my head and into a physical form. Doing so gives me a chance to play around with my ideas and not let any of them slip away.
Mommy Time, illustrated by Ebony Glenn, written by Monique James-Duncan // Candlewick Press
Tell us about a recent project you worked on? Did you resonate with it at all?
One of my more recently published books, Mommy Time, has a special place in my heart after given birth to my daughter at the end of 2021. Written by Monique James-Duncan, this sweet and intimate picture book captures the joys—and occasional struggles—of being a stay-at-home parent, and as a new mother myself, I can totally relate. Working on this book also gave me a newfound respect and appreciation for time and how we use it. To me, Mommy Time is not only the hours a mother spends caretaking and homemaking, but it’s also the love, attention, and acceptance she readily gives to her children. And what’s not to love about that?
Ebony’s hybrid cut paper/digital art style from Twelve Dinging Doorbells published by Kokila/Penguin.
Who/What have been your key influences as an illustrator?
Simply, the pursuit of doing what I love has always been my main influence. I’m a creative person by nature and just like the honeybee who has to make honey, I am driven by my own need to create.
What Is your favorite part of the illustration process?
My favorite part is the end! After spending months (sometimes years) making illustrations for a book, it’s so rewarding to see and hold the physical manifestation of my creativity, imagination, and hard work.
To an up-and-coming artist, what is one piece of advice you would give?
I think it’s so important for every artist to have their own definition of success. What does it mean for you to pursue a career in illustration? I don’t believe you need to win an award, have thousands of followers on Instagram, or be a New York Times bestseller to be considered a successful artist. As long as you stay true to yourself, and know what it is you want to achieve with your artistry, you will make your life as an artist a worthwhile and fulfilling endeavor.
What would be your dream brief?
To write and illustrate my own children’s book. :)
Here’s what Ebony’s agent Anne Moore Armstrong has said about working so closely with her:
“Ebony’s endearing characters are so warm and inviting. She has an uncanny ability to capture the experience of childhood with whimsy, gesture and emotion. She brings a fresh new palette and dynamic perspectives to every book, and it’s been a joy to work with her, as she’s also conscientious about delivering high caliber work on time. Clients and children just love her classic contemporary style.”
To work with Ebony, get in contact with her agent Anne here.