Inside the studio with Ursula Vernon, Creator of the Hamster Princess Series
Ursula Vernon | The Children’s Book Review | May 25, 2016
Ursula Vernon’s Studio Space
My studio is a finished room over the garage. It’s large and has a lot of tables so that if I’m working on multiple things, I can leave them out and not have to put everything away. (The downside is that books and art supplies pile up on every surface until, every few months, I scream “I cannot work under these conditions!” and clean everything.)
Ironically, as big as the studio is, I do most of my children’s book work in a little alcove to one side. Most of my books are completely digital, so I need my big Mac computer to handle all the graphics load, my Intuos tablet, snacks, and coffee, and I’m ready to go for hours. Frequently I’ll pull out old books I’ve done to see how I drew something in the past, so stacks of Dragonbreath and Hamster Princess start to pile up around the computer too.
Another requirement of the studio is a large comfy chair. Someday I hope to be able to sit in it myself, but the pets take it over when I’m working late hours. My hound models all my books for publicity photos. She knows she’s beautiful.
Ursula Vernon’s Creative Process
My creative process starts with writing the book. I block out where the illustrations will go when I’m writing, so that the manuscript is broken up by things like “Full page illo — Harriet looks up at beanstalk. H: Whoa.” I don’t draw anything until the book is written, because otherwise if we make changes, I’ll have to go back and redraw a lot of stuff!
Once I know what’s going in the final book, it’s just a matter of sitting down and doing the drawings. I do all the linework on a piece first, then block in the colors and the text.
It takes me about six weeks to write a book and about four months to draw one. While I’m drawing, I’m usually writing the next book, though, so I always feel like I’m keeping a lot of balls in the air, and if I drop one, things could get very frantic very fast! It’s a lot of fun, though, and keeps me out of trouble, so I’m happy to keep on juggling.
About Ursula Vernon
Ursula Vernon is a full-time author and illustrator whose work has won a Hugo Award and been nominated for an Eisner. She loves birding, gardening, and spunky heroines, and thinks she would make a terrible princess. Ursula lives with her husband in Pittsboro, North Carolina.
For more information, visit: www.ursulavernon.com
Written and Illustrated by Ursula Vernon
Publisher’s Synopsis: Princess Harriet is nobody’s hamster damsel in distress! Book two of this series for Babymouse and Princess in Black fans is filled with even more action and twisted fairy tale fun.
Princess Harriet has absolutely no interest in brushing her hair, singing duets with woodland animals, or any other typical princess activities. So when a fairy tells a very bored Harriet about twelve mice princesses who are cursed to dance all night long, she happily accepts the quest and sets off with a poncho of invisibility and her trusty battle quail. But when she arrives at the Mouse Kingdom, she discovers there’s more to the curse than meets the eye, and trying to help is dangerous business . . . even for a tough princess like Harriet.
From the creator of Dragonbreath, comes a laugh-out-loud funny new comic-hybrid series, bursting with girl power and furry fairy tale retellings.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Dial Books | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0803739840
Enter to win a massive Ursula Vernon prize pack, including the first two Hamster Princess books, and advance copy of Ratpunzel (October 2016), a copy of Castle Hangnail, and the first five books in the Danny Dragonbreath series.
One (1) winner receives:
- A copy of Harriet the Invincible
- A copy of Of Mice and Magic
- An advance copy of Ratpunzel
- A copy of Castle Hangnail
- Copies of the first five books in the Danny Dragonbreath series
Age Range: 8-12
Prize Pack Value: $75 (approx.)
Giveaway begins May 25, 2016, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends June 24, 2016, at 11:59 P.M. PST. Enter here »
Discover more books like the Hamster Princess series, written and illustrated by Ursula Vernon, on The Children’s Book Review by following along with our articles tagged with Art of Illustration, Hamster Books, Princesses, Ursula Vernon, Fairy Tales, and Graphic Novels. And be sure to check out more authors and illustrators featured in our Inside the Studio column.