Nov 9, 2012

Katie and Aaron DeYoe: Illustrator Interview

Katie and Aaron DeYoe are probably the cutest pair of redheads you'll ever meet, not to mention incredibly talented illustrators. They met while studying graphic design at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and though they are both full-time graphic designers, they spend most of their free time drawing, doodling, painting, and printing. They also enjoy riding their serendipitously matching red Schwinns around Minneapolis.

We took a bit of time to chat with Aaron about their work on The Mighty Quinn, out in May from Scarletta Junior Readers, and how it's been working as a duo.


1. The Mighty Quinn is the first book that you’ve illustrated together. How has the experience been so far?

Really good! We have discovered that our process is mostly switching between art director and illustrator. Sometimes I will have a vision for a particular illustration that I know Katie can execute better than me...and vice versa.

2. What have you enjoyed most about it?

Discovering how we work as a team. A long-term goal of ours is work collaboratively full time, and this project is helping us discover what that will be like.

3. Have their been unexpected challenges?

We set high expectations for ourselves, and struggle with that sometimes. Otherwise, nothing too unexpected.

4. Where did the style for the drawings come from? Is it a combination of your personal styles or does it lean toward one of your personal styles?

A lot of the "body language" that the characters convey in the illustrations are products of Katie's expertise. I will try to simplify her sketches down into hard, minimal lines. We tag-team a lot of the details and usually art direct each other.

6. What is your process for creating the illustrations? And what medium do you use?

We will make really terrible rough illustrations with pencil to establish form and proportion, and then we will trace over it with a black colored pencil to refine the lines. We will then scan it and drastically darken the lines in photoshop, and then digitally add color under the line work with a Wacom tablet.

7. How do you choose what passages to illustrate?

Whatever jumps out at us as we read! Robyn Parnell did a really good job at handing us really interesting and funny scenarios throughout the book.

8. What are your favorites? We like the medical book illustration with the severed foot on the cover. Also, we did a small homage to an Eames chair in chapter 28. We patted ourselves on the back for that one.

9. Do you plan on doing more books? Will you continue doing them together? 
 We would most definitely like to work on more book illustrations together! We get a really big kick out of the book Eli, No by husband-and-wife design team Eight Hour Day. We enjoy reading and learning about their process of working, living, and existing with one another.

  10. If you weren’t designers/illustrators, what do you think you would be?

We would probably be musicians. We both sing a lot around the house and in the car. It is mostly gibberish and nonsensical, but we have a lot of fun doing it and making fun of ourselves afterwards!

11. And finally, what were your favorite books when you were in fifth grade?

Katie loved anything by Roald Dahl. She kept a copy of Matilda in her mom's car, and would read and re-read it every time they drove anywhere. I was a big fan of Animorphs or anything to do with aliens. I was also a big fan of the novelization of movies. I think I even had a novelization of the movie Jurassic Park, which was already based on a novel.

You can now preorder your copy of The Mighty Quinn from Amazon or Barnes&Noble.

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