Friday, May 4, 2012

Sharon Lane-Holm, Kittens and Glitter and the SMELL of new crayons

kindergarten Sharon
I have had the great pleasure of working with Sharon as a colleague in our Picture Book Artists critique group. Sharon is a talented writer, a fabulous illustrator AND a Tae Kwon Do Blue Belt. She is also a kind and thoughtful friend. This week my little friend Charlotte, who is in Senior Kindergarten, has a few questions for Sharon. I paired these guys up since they both LOVE cats and are particularly sweet people.

some early high school art

Charlotte: What kind of stuff do you use to make your drawings? They all look so different. What is your favorite thing to draw with?
high school art - already out of the box
Sharon: PENCILS!!! I love the initial pencil sketches on tracing paper. Old school for me. For final art- I mix it all together-pencils, color pencils, fluid acrylics, pens, acrylics, gouache. Everything. I am working on using photoshop/illustrator more-its a slow go for me. I have issues with anything that plugs into the wall.

C: Did you draw when you were little?  When did you become an expert at drawing?

S: I am still working on being an "expert' at drawing! It is an ongoing process. I am trying really hard to remember who my art really is for and go back to being me. I want to relax more and enjoy the process of creating – to please me first. I have been drawing forever. One year my sister got the drawing pad and "how to book" – I coveted them. I still have the book. In 2nd grade it became official – my little Jackie Paper from Puff the Magic dragon made the bulletin board. My high school art teacher told me I would never be an artist. Never ever give up.
C: Sometimes I get frustrated because I can't draw what I want to draw. I am good at drawing butterflies but not so good at some other stuff. Is there anything that is hard for you to draw?
S: I can't draw horses or cars or bikes.

C: I really wanted to draw some monkeys but I had to draw numbers instead (because it was math time). Do you ever want to draw when you're not supposed to (like when you're sleeping or in the bath tub)?
S: I get my best ideas in the shower, walking the dog, right before I fall asleep. Even  lines of writing for my own books. I always doodle while on the phone. 

C: I imagine that if I was an illustrator I could draw in a lot of books about anything I wanted. What's it like being an illustrator? Do you get to draw what you want?
S: I get to draw what I want most of the time. Some Art Director's will micro manage, takes the fun out of the project. After all these years I have been mostly right one with their expectations. I'd love to actually finish up my own stories and books and art- they are my elephants in the closet. One person dislikes them, and I put them away-for years. My other passion is working with dogs and animals.

C: If I was an illustrator my studio would have one of my favorite things to draw with - markers. I would also have chalk, paint, crayons, paintbrushes and A LOT of all different colors of glitter! What's it like in your studio? Do you have glitter? My mom and I think Casper the Cat would like to play with glitter.

S: My office is organized chaos. (I love your glitter idea for Casper!) On my walls are my son's artwork from 1st grade, my Taekwodo certificates, my medals from TKD tournament, old toys, too many books and lots of post it notes of ideas.
C: My mom is good at drawing and my friend Mo's mom is good at drawing. They let us draw too. Do you have kids? Do you ever show kids how to draw?

Art by little Michael

S: I have a son, Michael. He is an excellent illustrator-but his passion  is writing. One day we will see his name out there. I teach a 3rd-5th grade literacy course. They write and create their own picture books. Very inspiring. I try to help them maintain their confidence and self esteem for writing and drawing. 

Sharon and a new box of crayons (they do smell SO good)
Peggy: Do you remember the smell of a new workbook, and the thrill of making the marks on the first page? I always used to be SO careful on that first page...

S: I still love the smell of new crayons. I always get the notebooks with perforated pages-then proceed to rip out the art I don't like. Silly. I use tracing paper to refine my work projects. I have just started a visual journal and leave the pages in.

Peggy: What was your favourite picture book when you were a kid? 
S: My 1st book-Pinocchio- I loved the art of the bad boy island. (is that what it was called?) I still have it. I have always loved books, forever and still. I love what I do.

Thank you so much Sharon for stopping by to answer our questions - and thank you to Charlotte and her mom for asking them.

If you would like to see more of Sharon's fabulous NEW work, please visit these links:


Sharon also belongs to the Picture Book Artists Association


  1. Such a fun post to hear about each illustrator as a child - great interview questions too :)

    It would have been fun to see one of Charlotte's own illustrations too. Maybe at the end, you could do a post on all the interviewers and their artwork!

  2. Fantastic interview (go, Charlotte!) with a fantastic artist who is a wonderful, funny, caring person (and also an intense and accomplished Blue Belt!). Loved seeing Sharon's early art (clearly a predictor of great things to come.) Thank you for offering this special moment with a very special person.

  3. Loved seeing Sharon's early art and photo, ... great questions from Charlotte in Senior Kindergarten lol!

  4. Great interview Charlotte! It was fun to see Sharon's childhood art and photo. How fun to learn more about Sharon, a wonderful artist and friend!

  5. June! What a wonderful idea - I will most definitely do that. Thanks for the comments ladies!

  6. Great interview of Sharon and I love the picture of her with the new box of crayons - there is nothing better!
    Good questions Charlotte!