Name: Susan Reagan
City/Town: Tremont, a wonderfully small and diverse historic neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio.
Places Travelled: Not every state in the United States yet, but it’s a goal. I’ve also visited England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Greece, Canada and Mexico.
Loves: Cooking and sharing dinners with my family, especially my nieces and nephews. My faith and Church. And definitely my work!
Occupation: Illustrator and recent picture book author-illustrator.
Quote: “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” -1 Corinthians 13. Also, my Dad’s all-time favorite Warner Brothers line: “Monkeys are the craziest people.”
What would one find in the pages of your Paperblanks journal?
I’m using my Paperblanks journals for my finished writing. The brainstorming and sketching process for my work can be big and messy! I’m not good at staying in the lines and I have to work out all of my mistakes before I start honing in and pulling my thoughts together. With a beautiful journal I want to slow down and be a little more deliberate with what I write and draw. I don’t want my mistakes in them.
What is your personal philosophy about writing?
Writing is actually a new endeavor for me and it is exciting developing this part of myself and pushing my boundaries. I don’t think the process works the same way for an illustrator as it does for a writer. My ideas begin with a visual and are character driven. I’ll draw some little character I like and start thinking of a world for them to live in. For my current project with Disney I created a parody Wikipedia page (Sillipedia) for my little penguins and from there I came up with the theme and story line for their adventure. It is so fun to see a small drawing develop into a world for the characters to inhabit! My writing philosophy is about having fun! The process is about learning, editing, challenging, rethinking and working pretty hard!
Who first inspired you to make art an essential part of your life?
My parents first. I miss them since they’ve passed on. Then my high school art teacher! I miss him a little too. I’m thrilled to be one of those people who can honor a teacher by saying that they truly helped set a course for my life.
How did you find Paperblanks?
I first became aware of Paperblanks on Twitter and then looked for the journals at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
What sets Paperblanks apart from other journals you’ve used?
The paper quality and richness of the designs. When I sketch for my work I’m using tracing paper and when I’m brainstorming book ideas I can be all over a sketchbook. With Paperblanks I feel that I’m already near the finish and what I put in them needs to have more permanency.
Do you have any advice for other creative people?
Use your gut instinct and passion first, then use your head to pull it all together.