Studio Snapshots: David Deen

Today we’re featuring David Deen, the amazing illustrator of Tolo, Cotsen’s digital adventure! Furiously sketching and coloring owlbears and nagas from his brother’s D&D books, David also grew up reading fantasy books. After earning a BA in Art, David worked as a computer game artist before going freelance. We asked him to give us a quick tour of his Colorado studio (and we get to meet his cats)!


As my art has shifted to being mostly digital, my studio space has shrunk to a fairly compact little space in the corner of my basement. I still have a sketchbook for initial concept sketching and printouts of the information I need to reference. And we have two cats that keep me company as I work, Summer (shown above) and Smudge.

Most of the work is done on my iPad Pro, where I use a couple of different programs designed to provide the look of traditional media with the benefits of easy revisions and no loss of quality from the artwork being photographed or scanned.

While I’m working on the illustrations, I use the computer to find reference photos and look up information I might need… and to entertain my ears with music. Once the final images are created, I send them straight to the computer through Dropbox. Then I can finalize the files, send them to the client, and do all of the other business involved in illustration.

The studio for creating traditional artwork is currently being used as a guest bedroom; the drafting table is folded down and the supplies are all put away. I hope to get back in there in the new year and make some paintings again, but in the meantime, my little digital corner of the basement is enough to keep me making all the artwork I need.


Images courtesy of David Deen

Studio Snapshots: Stevie Lewis

Get ready to be amazed… this studio is on wheels! Today, we’re visiting Stevie Lewis. For half the year, Stevie, her partner, and her dogs (Kiki and Tigger, seen smiling above) travel to hiking and rock climbing destinations. And Stevie takes her work with her in a sweet van she customized herself! An animator for four years, Stevie has also illustrated a number of beautiful picture books. Her newest releases, I Am Thinking My Life (Bala Kids), and We Are Better Together (Henry Holt) will be available in 2022.


Picture 1: Here’s a picture of my workspace, which I share with my partner while we’re on the road in our van. I built out the van (all by myself!) before I met him, and we travel as often as we can. I usually work from the road on my computer.

Picture 2: Having a van home makes traveling feel very comfortable. I can park anywhere, and gather endless inspiration from the outdoors. Here’s the van parked off a road in Moab, Utah, where I enjoyed painting and drawing in the desert.

Picture 3: Another view of the kitchen/studio/living room area. It’s so important to stay organized living in such a small space!

Picture 4: The trunk is where we keep our outdoor climbing, camping, and biking gear, as well as any art supplies I bring on the road with me.

Picture 5: Sometimes I”ll bring my art outside, and use traditional mediums like color pencil and gouache. I can’t bring too many supplies with me on the road, but I can manage a few paints and pencils! I’m looking forward to having a real, non-moving art studio someday!


Images courtesy of Stevie Lewis

Studio Snapshots: Barbara DiLorenzo

Today, we’ll be visiting Barbara DiLorenzo, a New Jersey-based illustrator, writer, and teacher! Her books include Renato and the Lion (Viking Books, 2017) and Quincy: The Chameleon Who Couldn’t Blend In (Little Bee Books, 2018). In addition to this, Barbara has gone skydiving, hang gliding, surfing, and whitewater rafting. YES! In 2019, we were delighted to invite her to our library to read, make chameleons, and chat with the kids about her creative process. You can also visit her website and her Instagram!


barbara dilorenzo reads

Thank you for including me! Here are some photos from my studio…this is a close-up of some of the art hanging up on a line:

I sit at this desk and Zoom teach art classes – hence the big light and mic stands to hold cameras. I’m a messy artist, so I have to clean up frequently. Otherwise the clay and paint would be all over the keyboard and mouse.

This is another angle of this area – showing that one whole drafting table is covered in paint and other supplies. Even vitamins. Those are important!

This is my flat file, which holds all my art and nice papers. Lots of art materials in the bookshelf to the side.


Many thanks for sharing! Images courtesy of Barbara DiLorenzo