Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Get to Know Our Illustrators – Catherine Lee

How long have you been a member of SCBWI? What’s the most impactful thing you have learned from being in SCBWI?
I recently rejoined after many years.  I decided to get back into illustration to revive a childhood dream of mine.
The most impactful thing is joining an organization that is there giving every illustrator the necessary tools and support system with local groups for illustrators to become working professional illustrators.
What medium(s) do you use to illustrate?
Watercolor, chalk, color pencils, pens, ink and digital.  I get confused as time passes.  There are so many variations of getting an illustration finalized, typically colorization.
Which do you prefer?
Traditional mixed media.  However, learning digital can be an asset today.

What is your illustration process?

Doodle, sketch, and play around with color.  Then I retrace the same drawing or draw the same sketch on the final paper I want to use to finish the piece.
I’ve also scanned images into my computer, used Corel to edit and retouch colors.
I’d like to learn to use procreate!

How long have you been illustrating? How did you first get into illustration?

I haven’t been published for quite some time.  Recently, I started working on illustrations that I can use for
my portfolio work.
The first project (over 10 years ago) was a 4-page short prose, The Pumpkin Patch, a CBHI’s Children’s Playmate (same company that publishes Jack & Jill and a few other publications.)
The issue closed after it came out.
The art director saw my book dummy, loved it, had a project that would fit for me and contacted me back.  The experience with the art director was wonderful.  Getting paid was no issue.
You do generally have to wait about six months for magazine projects.

Are you self taught or did you study illustration?

Self taught and still learning.  🙂  It’s unfortunate that I didn’t learn earlier so that I can develop all my skills in college.
My elective courses, and extra credit courses were dedicated to drawing courses. 
Do you have a dedicated art space?
I’m starting to create one.  But I use the large desk with my computer.  I’m considering getting another large desk specifically
for my art stuff. 

What would be your dream book to illustrate?

A picture book.  I admire books illustrated by Patrice Barton and Faith Pray.  I like educational books too.
After doing some researching in children’s book illustrations, I realized Richard Scarry, who is an award-winning illustrator worked on educational materials for
school children.  I used to love those workbooks when I was in elementary school! 

Do you write children’s books as well or have any plans to do so?

I would love to in the future!  My children’s story, Mustard and Pea, came out in The LA Times when I first started.

Any tips for illustrators that are starting out?

If it’s what you want do, just do it and never give up.


List 3 to 5 interesting things about yourself.


Ready, willing and able.

Where can people find more of your work?

Instagram – @cat_e_lee


To see our Previous Get to Know Our Illustrators, click here.