Who is  Blayne Fox?
Artist and illustrator Blayne Fox draws from the visual cues gained in her childhood while romping through the Missouri woodlands.  Magical kingdoms and creatures inspired by native flora and fauna, imagined as a child, naturally fit into her professional artwork today.

Primarily self-taught, Blayne later attended art school, plunging soon after into her industry and quickly gaining the attention of clients including Discovery Channel and National Geographic Kids.

Blayne is currently represented by Deborah Wolfe LTD and focuses on projects primarily around children's books and graphic novels. Manuscripts of her own are also in the works!

"Fox’s images convey mood well through rich, saturated colors, dramatic contrasts of light and shadow, dynamic composition, and expressive animal faces."

KIRKUS INDIE REVIEW

"I have had the privilege to work with Blayne Fox on several book illustrations and she is a very talented artist.  She understands the dedication it takes to make a beautiful book.  Her impeccable attention to detail is evident when the illustrations are even better than the author could imagine.  When given artistic freedom, Blayne can make any book spectacular.

The author writes the story, but the artist makes the book come to life.  This is Blayne in a nutshell."

Samantha Williams

ART DIRECTOR

Frequently Asked Questions

How did you get started in illustration? What is your background?


I’ve been drawing since I was little and thankfully I was gifted two very supportive parents who drove my work ethic and passion growing up. I wrote and illustrated my own stapled books and comics through my early years and started my first webcomic in high school in St. Louis, Missouri. I loved the narrative storytelling route of illustration, so I enrolled in Memphis College of Art in Memphis, Tennessee, for two years under a BFA with a specialization in “Sequential Narration”. However, traditional schooling wasn’t for me, so I left to pursue freelance illustration, moving back home to St. Louis. Within weeks, I was contacted by a design agency that requested illustrations of sharks and marine life. Little did I know at the time that their client was Discovery Channel and the illustrations were for 2016’s Shark Week “Sharkopedia” page. The agency returned to contract me for clients such as Yale University and National Geographic Kids’ “Weird But True Facts” show. While I loved freelancing, I still didn’t know quite the direction I wanted to take my career in until I became represented by Deborah Wolfe LTD Illustration Agency. Since then, my rep’s brought me projects with numerous educational publishers and editorial projects including my first illustrated Children’s Book “Eagle Vs. Bear: Adventures of a Child Cub” by Emile Millar. This project became a monster with over 65 illustrations and no storyboard (a lesson learned!). Despite the learning curve, I flourished drawing children’s books. Eagle vs Bear went on to win the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Silver Medal Award for best-designed children’s book a year later. Working with publishers and self-published authors to make their Children’s Book stories come to life is where I found my passion. My illustrations are intertwined with my own storytelling details, with a priority to include equitable character representation and diversity. As an LGBTQ+ identifying person, I think it’s important children see all types of families from all walks of life as the world is as colorful as the people in it! The details I add are more or less like a special seasoning on an already well-cooked meal!




What is your preferred medium, method of working?


I start and end digitally, though I switch between programs depending on the style I’m working in. For my sketchier black and white style or any preliminary sketches, I use Procreate on my iPad. While the slick surface takes a bit to get used to, I find the sensitivity for pencil brushes to be delicious in comparison to Photoshop’s graphite capabilities. For my rendered digital paintings, I am married to my Cintiq and Photoshop. While I love traditional sketching and will from time to time indulge when I’m just throwing ideas down quickly, I find traditional work to be my “experimentation” time. Inking with different brushes and pens is my favorite way to loosen up my digital brush strokes as they often correlate!




How did your style and technique develop?


My technique and style developed heavily from my favorite animations as a child like Avatar: The Last Airbender and Studio Ghibli to the growing list of inspirational illustrators both classic like Mucha and current like Loish. I’ve found that style comes from melting numerous different flavors of illustration together into your own unique blend. Making master copies and trying to merge your favorite artist’s styles together is always a great place to find your own!




What do you find the most challenging in your work?


Lack of time. I honestly wish I grew five other arms to tackle the amount of things to do at all times as a freelancer. Whether it be creating new portfolio work, or working on commercial projects, updating my website, or working on manuscripts, there’s always something to do and I suffer from the “guilty free time” bug when I force myself to do something not career-related! I only fully achieve this when I’m out fishing on a lake, the farthest away from my computer I can be.




What would be your dream project? Or what was your favorite project?


I think my dream project would be where I would have enough time (12-24 months) to really indulge in the rendering and detail work of the illustrations. When given enough time, my pieces become more complex and they achieve a level of cinematic effect that I can’t easily achieve within the standard 3-6 month contract. Oftentimes I battle with how I can simplify my art style and quicken my pace in order to meet deadlines. I think this would be avoidable if I were illustrating my own manuscripts and that’s why this is where I’d love to take my career some day. At that point, my dream project would be one of my own manuscripts fully funded by a big publisher with a chunky timeline and a talented editor to make a masterpiece.




Do you have a favorite book(s) from your childhood?


My favorite picture books as a child were definitely “Stella Luna” by Janell Cannon, “Good Dog, Carl” By Alexandra Day, and “The Little Blue Rabbit” by Angela McAllister. I was always challenged by teachers to read something other than “animal books” yet even as an adult these are my favorite types of books to illustrate! Especially those that deal with adventure, a touch of fantasy and a whole lot of fun!




How did you get signed with your agent?


I had just finished working on a season of “Weird But True Facts” with National Geographic Kids when I felt like my portfolio was big enough to inquire about agents. I sent my application to several illustration agencies and although there were a few no’s, Deborah Wolfe took a chance and saw potential in my work. It took several months of adding work to my portfolio to bulken it to the point I could start catching client’s eyes, but after three years they definitely helped me shape where I want to go in my industry: Children’s book publishing.




Do you have any art supply-type tips you can share with us? Paint, paper or software that you love, a favorite art store or website to buy supplies or a new product that you’ve tried, etc.?


Working as a digital illustrator, the software I most use is Photoshop if I’m working on finished, rendered pieces along with my Cintiq 22 HD touch tablet. I combine this tool with a Cintweak keyboard mount on the back left corner of my tablet for easier shortcut access. My favorite reference software to use is PureRef as it allows me to layout my books as I check off the pages and have my references easily available at the same time--It’s a wonderful tool! For a sketchier style or any preliminary work, I like to use Procreate on my iPad with the Apple Pencil. You can’t beat the portability, especially when you have local coffee shops with free wifi!




Any words of advice for those just starting out in illustration? What do you wish you would have known sooner in your author/illustrator career?


I don’t know if I should be saying this but honestly, I usually advise students who are wanting to go to school for illustration not to. Especially in the US where prices for private education are astronomical. If you have the means, traditional education comes with networking potential with not only other artists but visiting talkers and professors who have experienced the industry firsthand which is a benefit. If you are just starting out and need to learn the basics to cultivate your base, again, art colleges may be for you! But as I’ve experienced as well as heard from others in my same position, the age of the internet has created a whole new opportunity for affordable education from anywhere and you still get professionals in your industry (many times professors of top universities) who are fantastic at teaching for a monthly or extremely lower price than a traditional college. I left school because I found I was learning much more about the industry through my own research than what was being taught in my classes. It wasn’t until after I left before I found my Children’s Book passion so I had to teach myself the industry standards through trial and error as well as online resources.




What’s next for you? Any upcoming book releases we should be on the lookout for?


Yes, I have a few books that haven’t been released yet and am so excited to add them to my bookshelf! “Loodor Tales: Land of the Pines” by Summer Nelsson is up for preorder soon, and I just sent off the final art to the designer for “Chi Chi: The Rescue Dog” by Elizabeth Howell so definitely keep an eye out for those two to hit the shelves within the next year! This year I’m making some big career changes. A few months ago I left my dayjob and am fully able to work from home as an illustrator which has just been a blessing! It’s allowed me time to work on my own manuscript which I’ve realized is one of the growing goals in my near future and I’m eager to develop it further! I plan on putting myself out there more with workshops, virtual events, and critique groups to make my art, and my writing, the best it can be! Otherwise, as my schedule is opening up I look forward to the next big publishing project to arrive in my inbox!





He-Man 

Six-year-old Rescue 

Has a bobble-head due to neurological injury. Always greets people at the door like our

tiny butler.

Callelou Adelaide d'Aguesseau

Two-year-old Dutchess of

the household. Gets

what she wants.

Fenris

Two-year-old big baby. He is my

furry little familiar that lives in my shadow and loyally follows me around the house for SNUGGLES.

Gertrude

One-year-old scaley overlord rescued for my partner's birthday.

Meet My Goblin Army

Reach out...

Can you picture your next project within the world of my illustrations?

If so, send your query to my agent now!

lisa@illustrationonline.com

For Private Commissioning Info
CLICK HERE
For all other inquiries, you can reach me at
blaynefoxart@gmail.com
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