7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #620: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Annelouise Mahoney

h1 January 6th, 2019 by jules

(Click to enlarge)


It’s the first Sunday of the month, dear Imps, which means a student or debut illustrator visits. Today, I have the latter: Annelouise Mahoney’s debut picture book will be released next year, and she’s here today to tell us more about herself and her artwork — and to tell us a bit about that book, too.

I thank her for sharing. Let’s get right to it!

* * *

Annelouise: Hello. I am Annelouise Mahoney. I’m an author-illustrator, based in Southern California. I grew up in Massachusetts, living by the woods and playing outside — a lot. A large part of my work is influenced by growing up there.

My passion is picture books. I’ve loved them before I could read. They have the power to comfort us and make us believe anything is possible. Some stories, like the classics that I listened to as a child, have nestled their way in my heart and grown up with me. Picture books are little paper theaters, and I adore them. They hold the possibility to take you anywhere and bring you safely home.


I want to make the kind of books you want to hug and carry around with you. I have two daughters. Reading stories to them, their friends, and their classmates — and also playing out their favorite stories — has influenced the work I want to do. I care a lot about children, their view of the world, and their feelings. Each day brings a discovery, everything is new — such as, making friends, feeling scared, making choices, and discovering their own capabilities.

My stories are of friendship, relationships, and family. My debut picture book comes out summer 2020 with Two Lions. It has a working title of Julius and Mouse. It’s an enchanted tale of friendship and heroes. It’s about what it is to be a friend — and how to be brave and have courage in the face of things that may be scary. My little heroes need each other; just like in life, we all need someone on our side. Here are some sketches:



(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)



(Click to enlarge)


And here is one piece of final art from the book:

I work in various mediums, depending upon what is needed, but I always begin with a pencil sketch. I use both traditional and digital mediums — and sometimes mix the two. I love to draw animals, mostly because there is a universality to them. They are all-inclusive and speak to all of us.



I love that it takes a village to create a book. I think my respect for the effort and teamwork in creating something is influenced by my work in animation. I was a background painter, which is the art you see behind the characters; it is their stage, a small part of something much bigger. A background layout artist drew the stage, and I brought it to life with color with the help of the art director and producers.



Some of the illustrators that inspire me are Lisbeth Zwerger, Stephanie Graegin, Emily Winfield Martin, Holly Hobbie, and my teacher Marla Frazee. I admire how Marla isn’t afraid to take risks with her books; she believes in them. She taught me to find the emotion in the story and to dig for the heartbeat and pull that thread through the book to tie it in the end. She taught me that it’s okay to be afraid and to feel vulnerable — but do the work anyway. Her art is an extension of her heart. I would love to reach that level and do the same; that’s a steep climb for me. I hope to make stories that people feel connected to and create characters who have their own little heart beat. I want to build a world and characters that show us that anything is possible. I want to take you somewhere special and bring you safely home.


(Click to enlarge)


Thank you, Julie, for bringing me onto Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast and offering a seat at your table.

* * *

Thanks, Annelouise!

For those who would like to see more art, Annelouise’s website is here, and you can find her here on Instagram.

All artwork reproduced by permission of Annelouise Mahoney.

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) During the holidays, there was maybe about a week where I had no work, and I planted myself on the couch and read and read and read.

2) I am devouring Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels.

3) The music of Max Richter. (I bet he has shown up in my kicks before.)

4) Lena Coakley’s Wicked Nix, our current, fabulous read-aloud:



5) We are wrapping things up at Calling Caldecott, and awards day is nigh.

6) My co-author sent me this, and I can’t wait to dive in:



7) My oldest daughter sewed me a cat for Christmas, and my youngest daughter drew me a picture of Captain Janeway.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

(Janeway out.)

28 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #620: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Annelouise Mahoney”

  1. Hello, Imps!

    Hello, Annelouise! Thank you for sharing your story and your art with us. I love the image of the baby swan with her full-grown self reflected beneath her. And that last piece of art from the book is utterly adorable. I loved all that you said about connection with readers and characters and story. Best of luck with all that you are working on and all that’s ahead!

    Jules: Yay for a break! Yay for good books and good things!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Filming
    2) Singing
    3) Laughing
    4) Comfortable
    5) Honesty
    6) Writing
    7) Movement

  2. Fabulous, Annelouise. Your art is whimsical, child-friendly. I want to jump into your scenes. Thanks, Jules, for running your fabulous blog.

  3. Did you read the (scathing) New Yorker review of the Gorey book? If not, maybe wait till after you’ve read the book!

  4. And beautiful work Annelouise, thank you for the sneak peek!

  5. What a beautiful book, Annelouise! I’m a children’s book buyer for an independent bookstore and would certainly order the book for our store save for the fact that it’s published by Amazon. I sincerely hope that you’re able to work with a publisher other than Amazon after JULIUS & MOUSE comes out because I’d love to carry your books in our store.

  6. Hello everyone! Thank you Annelouise for sharing your philosophy and artwork. I can tell your books will indeed be the kind you hug and carry around with you. I am looking forward to meeting your two friends in 2020. And thank you Jules for 7 Imp. It too is a labor of love.

    So glad you had laughter last week, Little Willow.

    My kicks:
    1. Coyote singing at night
    2. Gorgeous deep snowfall
    3. New delicious recipes
    4. Rabbit prints in the snow
    5. Sunrises and sunsets
    6. Finished reading four amazing books; Unpresidented, Skyward, Strongheart and Resistance plus a bunch of picture books
    7. Walking and running with Mulan

    Wishing you all a fabulous 2019

  7. Gorgeous art and illustrations Annelouise. Every drawing, every character has so much story and emotion. I can’t wait for your book (s) to be available.

  8. Beautiful art and insight into your work and process Annelouise. I can’t wait to see the book in person.

  9. I was truly touched by your bio Annelouise and seeing your lovely drawings and sketches makes me eager to actually pick up Julius and Mouse and begin reading as soon as it becomes available. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work. Thank you Julie for your blog.

  10. So lovely! Can’t wait to see your book, Annelouise. Already, I wish some of your characters were plush animals. I want to hug them, they are so darling. And you capture personalities in them too. They feel like real beings from the illustrations. So great!

  11. Beautiful! Looking forward to seeing your book and getting to know all the adorable characters. Thank you for sharing, Annelouise!

  12. Annelouise – thank you so much for sharing your process and your work. I am so in love with the hedgehog mama and child, as well as the sweet little sweeper, and the end illustration from your two friends. Looking forward to your first book, and those that follow.

    Jules – what a treat to be able to relax and so much time to read! Wicked Nix looks very good, and those presents from your girls sound awesome!

    LW – Filming, singing, laughing and writing sounds like a perfect week for you!

    Margie – a week of snow, great books, sunrises and sunsets and walks with Mulan sounds lovely.

    My kicks are all wrapped into one this week – I am in New York visiting friends and couldn’t ask for a more perfect visit. Simply a wonderful time.

    Have a great week everyone!

  13. AnneLouise, the book looks amazing! I can’t wait for it to be published so I can see all your beautiful drawings! Congratulations!

  14. Fantastic, my dear friend! Thank you for creating a warm, inviting place for children of all ages to dream and be nurtured 💕

  15. Such gorgeous illustrations! I definitely could hug them and carry them with me😊 Congratulations Anne Louise!

  16. AnneLouise, I am so excited for you to be on this journey. I love your illustrations, they are so beautiful and I have no doubt the story will be full of heart. Congratulations.

  17. Hi, all!

    LW: Your kicks are oh-so healthy (and lovely, as always).

    Patricia: Thanks for making books.

    Corinna: No, I haven’t seen that. ACK!

    Margie, what beautiful kicks. I really want to read Unpresidented. I gotta find a copy.

    Rachel, ooh! Have fun! And safe travels.

    Have a good week, you all!

  18. AnneLouise, your artwork feeds my soul. The images are so beautiful and delicate and convey a sense of peace and beauty. It reminds me a bit of favorites from my youth: “The Wind in the Willows” and “Winnie the Pooh,” but kissed with a bit of magical fairy dust and better lighting. I look forward to your book release.

  19. Such lovely art – thanks for sharing so openly – it is nice to have a chance to get to know you and your art. I look forward to your book.

    I stopped by yesterday while on a plane in Boston just before takeoff and my comments didn’t make it.

    Happy New Year to everyone.
    Jules – your kicks are fantastic as always. I hope you’ll share your reading list with us. I always enjoy knowing what you are reading.

    My kicks for this past week are all wrapped up in a quick trip to New England. I was able to spend some time with a dear sister/friend, see lots of other friends at a celebration of life for a life-long friend who passed away too young in December (that part isn’t a kick, obviously), and visit an exhibit in Gloucester MA about Virginia Lee Burton and the 75th Anniversay of the publication of The Little House (which was in 2017).
    Happy New Year Everyone!

  20. AnneLouise- your characters are warm, gentle, kind spirits. Your work is magical and I’m very excited for your first book to be published next year!!

  21. Congratulations, Annelouise! Your work is beautiful! I especially love your sense of lighting and wonderful use of perspective. Looking forward to seeing the finished book!

  22. I love this! Annalouise, your art is stunning… and I also love that it takes a village to make a book! I can’t wait to read yours. 🙂

  23. Warm and inviting work. Kudos, Annelouise! I love what you’ve said about the universality of animals. And thank you for sharing what Marla said about the thread of heartbeat that goes through each good book. That’s a nice meditation for me today!

  24. So beautiful, Annalouise!!! Keep up the outstanding work❤️🎉🎉

  25. Annelouise, The work is beautiful. I am sure the book will do very well.Congratulations.

  26. Beautiful work, Annelouise! I am really looking forward to buying the book for myself and lots of friends! Gorgeous artwork!

  27. Your illustrations are absolutely adorable. Your characters are endearing and I can’t wait to buy your book! CONGRATULATIONS!

  28. AnneLouise, I’m blown away by your work! Can’t wait to see this one 😀 Congrats on all of it and thanks for sharing, ladies 😀

Leave a Comment

Should you have trouble posting, please contact sevenimp_blaine@blaine.org. Thanks.