7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #607: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator Sally Gardner

h1 October 7th, 2018 by jules

St. Basil’s Cathedral


The first Sunday of each month is usually reserved for student illustrators or those just entering the world of children’s book illustration. Today’s artist, Sally Gardner, isn’t quite brand-new, but I’m showcasing her art this morning anyway. She is a working freelance illustrator and graphic designer, and she both illustrated and co-created the Splurch Academy for Disruptive Boys series — a hybrid graphic novel and early chapter book series, published by Penguin Books for Young Readers.

Sally was once a student of author-illustrator Sergio Ruzzier’s. (Years ago, she took one of his continuing education classes at the School of Visual Arts.) She lives in New York. She not only shares some art today but also tells us a bit more about her work. I thank her for sharing.

Let’s get to it. …

* * *

Sally: Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved illustrated books. As a child, I spent more time looking at the art in books than I spent reading them. I can still remember how many of my books smelled.



My favorite illustrators are Edward Ardizzone, Quentin Blake, and Ronald Searle. I love their drawings for being funny and scratchy and no more complicated than they need to be.



I spend most of my time working at a computer, but I’m happiest when I’m surreptitiously drawing people on the subway. Even when I am making illustrations with a computer, I still start each drawing with pencil and paper.


(Click bottom two images to enlarge)


I still learn things from Sergio. All illustrations have a job or two to do, but some drawings also manage to be poetry. That is the stuff of Sergio’s work, and studying with him taught me to watch for drawings that begin to lift off the page.



In the corporate work that I do [below is a logo], I have to visually represent business concepts in a way that’s easy to understand. Doing that has trained me to consider the audience’s perspective — what they know and don’t know — which is a helpful habit when illustrating.



As for what’s next, I have a project percolating that I can’t talk about yet, lest I jinx it!


From The Ratbrain Fiasco,
Book One in the
Splurch Academy for Disruptive Boys series


Priscilla the Book Gargoyle,
illustration for promotional bookmark for author Julie Berry


(Click to enlarge)


Edgar Allan Poe Christmas Card


Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) America continues to disappoint me and many other women in this country (to put it mildly), but one ray of light this week was this Time cover of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, in which her likeness was drawn with words from her testimony. You can read more about it here.



2) This 8-year-old Swedish girl! (“Daddy, I found a sword!”)

3) A kind and considerate note from a beginning illustrator once featured here on a Sunday.

4) Sam Phillips’ new album was released last week, which would have been in my kicks if I’d had seven separate kicks. It is called World on Sticks, and it is incredible. I don’t use the word masterpiece often, but I’m tellin’ you … this one is incredible. I’ve been such a big fan for over 30 years now. I saw an interview recently with Conor O’Brien (of Villagers) talking about how he feels spoiled that Radiohead (one of his favorite bands) exists in this world. That’s how I feel about Sam’s music.



5) We had a staycation this week and explored local places. My favorite was our tour of Hatch Show Print’s design shop.

6) But we also toured the Ryman, something I’ve always wanted to do.

7) I love how, in this post at Betsy Bird’s site, Nick Bruel wrote: “How dull our literature would be if we weren’t exposed to those things that bewilder us, perplex us, and possibly even offend us.”

Bonus #1: The book I wrote four years ago with Betsy Bird and Peter Sieruta is now out in paperback. Woop woop!

Bonus #2: At next weekend’s Southern Festival of Books, I’ll interview Justice Sonia Sotomayor on stage. I’m excited to meet her.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

8 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #607: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator Sally Gardner”

  1. I think Sally Gardner has a long career ahead of her. I want the Priscilla the Book Gargoyle bookmark. And snerk…Edgar Allan Poe trying to write poems Bout Santa? Ha!
    Jules, excited your book is in paperback! Love the TIme magazine cover. We must lean into each other and not give up.
    1. Autumn colors.
    2. The ballet this afternoon.
    3. Decided to write a poem a day for Poemtober.
    4. Working with 2nd graders.
    5. Walking.
    6. Heading to the east coast on Wednesday for 2 weeks.
    7. Time with friends

    Have a great week

  2. Good morning, Sally! Good morning, Imps! Good morning, adorable fox!


    Jules: Congrats on the paperback release. Have a wonderful time and an excellent interview next week!

    1) New Matt Nathanson album
    2) New-to-me Elbow EP
    3) Planning
    4) Practicing
    5) Writing
    6) Revising

  3. Hi Jone! We crossed in the timestream. 🙂 Ooh, which ballet?

  4. Jone, yay second graders, even when you’re retired! Which ballet did you see? (I see Little Willow asked that too.)


  5. Jules: It was sweet! I look forward to seeing what happens as the season continues…

  6. LW, I love Matt Nathanson

    The ballet I saw was Napoli performed by the Oregon Ballet Theater.

  7. Thanks for sharing your artwork Sally! I too want that gargoyle bookmark. And the bunny and fox getting dressed for school are pretty awesome.

    Jules – that little girl finding the sword was awesome, as was a tweet about her saying that the young women warriors who will save us are finally getting their summons. That TIME cover is so powerful. I will check out the music later. Congrats on being in paperback!!

    Jone – hope the ballet was wonderful! Have a great trip to the east coast.

    LW – So much yes to Keep Persisting. Happy Doctor Who day! Hooray for writing, revising and planning.

    My kicks:
    1) Had a rough 3 day trial for a young client. The facts were on our side, the judge was not. Thankfully, the jurors followed the facts and it was Not Guilty across the board. So relieved and happy for client.
    2) My whole team for that case was made up of women. Girl power for the win.
    3)Watching Lonesome Dove, the old miniseries, for some much needed escape.
    4) Canvassed for 2 hours today in my neighborhood with friends. Good conversations & nice to be able to do one small thing.
    5) Started reading “The Queen of the Night” by Alexander Chee and so far it is promising.
    6) Saw Destination Wedding with Winona and Keanu and it was charming and fun.
    7) Sweet sweet Daisy. No matter how rough my day in court might be, that sweet fur ball is always happy to see me.
    7.5) Everyone who is stepping up to help make a difference right now – keep it up – we need everyone’s voice.

    Also – The Hate U Give movie comes out on the 19th!

    Hope you all have a good week. Keep looking for the good and the light.

  8. Rachel, thanks for that final reminder. Also, I love your first kick (in particular). That must feel rewarding. Hugs, as always, to Daisy.

    Have a good week, you all!

    p.s. Little Willow, we always rent Doctor Who via iTunes, but this time (because we were so excited) we watched it when it aired, which means we had to sit through commercials. While I loved it, the stupid commercials really distracted. I look forward to watching our iTunes version withOUT ads.

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