HomeBooks by AgeAges 0-3Illustration Inspiration: Patrice Barton, Illustrator of Little Bitty Friends
Illustration Inspiration_ Patrice Barton, Illustrator of Little Bitty Friends

Illustration Inspiration: Patrice Barton, Illustrator of Little Bitty Friends

The Children’s Book Review | February 14

Illustration Inspiration_ Patrice Barton, Illustrator of Little Bitty Friends

Patrice Barton’s artistic talents were discovered at age three when she was found creating a mural on the wall of her dining room with a pastry brush and a can of Crisco. She earned a BFA in studio art from the University of Texas in Austin. Patrice lives in Cedar Park, Texas.

Latest published book …

Little Bitty Friends by Elizabeth McPike, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, February 2, 2016

Inspired by …

My main inspiration was my son when he was a toddler. It brought a flood of memories. Just like the toddlers in this book, with him, every day was full of new discoveries; bugs, flowers, and animals. I tried to capture that sense of wonder and joy in the art.

Art medium used …

For sketching, I used a number 2B pencil on design vellum and a Moo eraser. The vellum has a nice tooth, gives a nice tug against the pencil. Also it has a bright, clean contrast to the graphite.

barton sketch bw

For color, I’m digital. I scan in my pencil sketches, then use Corel Painter to paint. I also scan in bits of paper, textures, watercolor, etc into my illustrations. Always experimenting.

barton sketch color


Artistic process …

I began by reading the manuscript over and over, letting it simmer. Next I plastered my studio wall with pictures of toddlers –  my son, niece, nephews and cousins. Then I sketched toddlers…dozens of toddlers, to get a feel for them. Thumbnail sketches came next, focusing on page layout. Then, I sketched out the first roughs and scanned them into my computer.  I sized them in Photoshop, then added shading/value in Painter. I sent these roughs to the art director for approval. The final art is completed in Painter.

Favorite place to create & illustrate …

My studio, it has excellent lighting. And all my supplies are there! I have lots of room to spread out, make a mess, and experiment.

Most used art supply or tool …

The art supply I use most is a 2B pencil. The digital tool I use most is my Wacom tablet and stylus.

Illustrator idols …

I have far too many to name!! A few of my favorites are Melissa Sweet, David Small, LeUyen Pham, Yuyi Morales, Oliver Jeffers, Gabi Swiatkowska, Garth Williams, Holly Hobbie. One thing I love about the children’s market is the celebration of so many different illustration styles. Keeps it very fresh.

All-time favorite children’s book you didn’t illustrate…

The first book I ever owned, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. It launched my love of picture books. I still have it!

A literary character to create art with …

Louise from Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light. How fun would that be, drawing with Louise? Her enthusiasm is infectious.

Currently working on …

A picture book, The Hello Goodbye Dog by Maria Gianferrari, published by Roaring Brook Press and a chapter book, The Year of the Garden by Andrea Cheng, published by HMH Books for Young Readers

Connect with Patrice Barton …

PatriceBarton.com | Twitter

Little Bitty FriendsLittle Bitty Friends

Written by Elizabeth McPike

Illustrated by Patrice Barton

Publisher’s Synopsis: A cuter-than-puppies companion to Little Sleepyhead

Little bitty chipmunks,
chattering all the day,

Little bitty ladybug
always comes to play.

Marching with ants, snuggling with baby rabbits, reaching for the sun with happy buttercups–young children form special bonds with nature’s little creations.

Lyrical verse and charming scenes capture an enchanted world of little bitty friends.

Ages 2+ | Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0399172557

Available Here: 


Discover more picture book illustration inspiration and books like “Little Bitty Friends,” written by Elizabeth McPike and illustrated by Patrice Barton, on The Children’s Book Review by following along with our Illustration Inspiration series and articles tagged with  and Poetry & Rhyme.

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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