Sarah D. “Sadee” Schilling is a young-at-heart artist and author-illustrator of picture books. Sadee thinks of herself first as a reader, but fell in love with making books as a child when she decided that the only thing better than reading them would be writing and drawing them. Sprawled out on her bedroom floor with a stack of paper, a paintbrush and a stapler, little Sarah D. crafted tiny books that could fit into her overalls pocket and even into the zippered pouch on her Kangaroos tennis shoes. This ensured that she was never without reading material when she set off on her other favorite activities–like going for a run and/or eating at the local pizza place (Mazzio’s in Broken Arrow, OK)–yum!

Photo Credit: Esther Cummings of Blue Thistle Photography

Sadee still loves her childhood favorites–running (she attended college on a track/academic scholarship), painting (drippy watercolors are the best) and pizza (gluten free, easy on the dairy). Her favorite, favorite thing from childhood–making books!–hasn’t changed either. To Sadee, a book is a hug; open pages invite open arms. She creates cute, compassionate, courageous characters who demonstrate that small is mighty and tender is strong.

While Sadee’s process varies from project to project, she is very tactile and her favorite tools are usually the same: soft, smudgy pencils, messy watercolors and rich, textured papers. Every illustration she creates starts as either a drawing or a paper-doll-like collage and then gets scanned into the computer for a bit of Photoshop magic.

Though her illustration skills are mostly self-taught, Sadee studied art and literature, graduating summa cum laude with a BA in English, a minor in art and a Masters of Teaching Arts degree. She once taught high school English in Oklahoma, then learned a second language while living in Germany. Now, Sadee spends her days in Colorado reading (and hugging!) both picture books and middle grade novels, learning as much as she can from the generous kidlit community as she creates books of her own.

Sadee’s sunny home-studio bustles with the energy of family and friends, including her four favorite people in the world—three daughters and their sweet German daddy–plus two dogs, two cats and three parakeets. When she’s not reading/writing/illustrating, Sadee is a supportive soccer mom who also putters in her garden, plucks at her ukulele, and cooks for her family while singing silly songs and dancing badly.

Should you be interested, here are some resources I have found helpful:

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)

KidLit411–the “One-Stop Place for all your KidLit Information Needs”

Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge and other Writing Resources

Jeanette Bradley’s Indie Guide for Hiring (and Working With) an Illustrator

Debbie Ridpath Ohi on Getting into the Kidlit Business

Harold Underdown on Picture Book Illustrations