Friday, January 30, 2015

Rita Goldner

           Rita Goldner received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Art Education from Rhode Island College. She joined the Navy after college and was able to absorb a wealth of artistic inspirations while traveling to exotic places around the world. For the past thirty years, she has been applying her artistic energy to her costume business, where she designs and sculpts large foam costumes (hot dogs, ice cream sundaes, etc.) for fast food franchises.

           She learned about illustrating an idea presented by a client, and designing whimsical characters for mascot costumes. Now having sold her business, Rita is a full-time author and illustrator of children's picture books. She experiments with a variety of media while designing a character, or for page composition and lay-out. For the final version, she paints digitally.  She is currently a member of Arizona Artists Guild, Scottsdale Artists League, Arizona Plein Air Painters, and The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She teaches workshops on plein air painting, and a monthly volunteer art class for veterans.
“I am excited about children’s picture books, and as a former elementary school teacher, 
I’m trying to help young readers find a fun way to learn.” 

1,) Describe yourself in five words:    Author, Illustrator, plein-air painter, grandma

2.) Tell me something about the place where you were born ? Woonsocket, RI, a very small town.

3.) What pictures influenced you as a child ? Walt Disney cartoon books and movies.

4.)Did you have a favorite book as a child ? Snow White and Bambi

5.) Did you like to draw as a child ? Where you encouraged ? Loved to draw, not encouraged as a career.

6.) What is your earliest memory of making art? Elementary school, drawing cards.

7.) Where you the class artist ? Yes, but shy, so I didn’t push it.

8.) Did your parents draw ? No

9.) Did you go to the public library as a child ? Yes often, I walked by myself as a young child.

10.)  Did you have books at home as a child? Yes, and I read the newspaper from age 6 on. My father was the editor, so all the kids did.

11.) Did you have a teacher who influenced or inspired you? I had nuns, kind of strict, no art in school.

12.) What did you do BEFORE you got started with children’s book illustrations? I owned my own business making mascot costumes.

13.) When did you realize you were interested in illustrating for children? I took a class from Molly Idle   (She got Caldecott Honor, last year) She was very inspiring.

14.) When did you become an illustrator ? I started my first book in that 8-week class, then I took the advanced 8-week class.

15.) How did you get started in picture book illustration? 
I wrote and illustrated from the beginning. I thought everyone did it that way.

16.) What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given as an illustrator? Investigate other genres and media, even those you’re not interested in.

17.) Tell us about the book that you have written ? 

“Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy” is a children’s picture book for ages 5-8 about a young wild orangutan in the rainforest. The story weaves from dawn to dusk, with adventures, excitement and challenges, including a constant search for food, and escaping predators. We hope that introducing an orangutan to young readers will help them learn to love and respect an endangered species, and someday help make a difference for orangutans. The kickstarter campaign is to fund and distribute this book.

18.) What inspired you to write this story? I sketched orangutans from life at the zoo, and became interested in their threatened extinction.

19.) Did you self publish or go through the other publishing routes ? I found a small publisher for 2 e-books, and another small publisher for the current book, a hard cover. Both I met through SCBWI.  Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

The publishing company is a small one, they do books on nature and endangered species. They fund printing with Kickstarter. We are starting a Kickstarter campaign on Feb 2 for 30 days. Our kickstarter page is Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy.  On Feb 2 you will be able to see the kickstarter page.

Rita is really excited about the Kickstarter campaign. Months of work on it have finally come to a launch on Feb 2, 2015. Please act now! Join her community of backers at 

The kickstarter page offers a beautiful short video, the colorful illustrations, and great rewards, including a personalized, signed first edition of

"Orangutan:A Day in the Rainforest Canopy" 

Thank you for sharing in the experience of our Kickstarter campaign and for participating in a community that hopes to make a difference in our world ecosystem, especially for endangered animals. 
And please know that there is no need to contribute financially to be part of this event. We appreciate you being here. And thank you for spreading the word. 

20.) Is your book available for purchase? Yes, 2 e-books that are available now and the hard copy will be released in May 2015
21.) Describe a typical day in your life. I’m working 10-12 hours a day now, finishing the orangutan book. I paint the illustrations digitally, using a software called Artrage, which is a lot like Photoshop.

Tell us about your illustration process and your picture book writing process.

Both of these have evolved since I started writing/illustrating picture books a few years ago. I used to illustrate in gouache, which is opaque watercolor. Since it's opaque, it is easier to correct mistakes and make changes than watercolor. Still, the changes are time consuming. As I got more involved, I combined gouache with digital painting, and as I got more comfortable with digital painting I started using that, exclusively. I use a software popular with many illustrators, called Artrage. I still scan a free-hand pencil drawing in  to my computer first, and then use Artrage to polish the sketch, and color in layers (see sample below). It's also much more efficient to store and send work to an editor or publisher this way. 
My writing process evolved, too, as I took more classes and workshops. I used to illustrate first, because that was more fun for me, and only had a rough of the story in my head. Then I found that when I finished writing, some illustrations didn't fit the story and had to be discarded. Now I write the story first, and when it is edited in the final form, do the illustrations.

22.) When you are creating, what music is playing ? None, I have to concentrate.

23.) If you had to describe your work in terms of your artistic influences, you would say it is... colorful and whimsical

24.) Who are your favorite artists ? Illustrators ? Authors ? Current, Molly Idle, Historical, Maurice Sendak

- For Free Color pages visit - 
Rita also has a blog, available from any computer, with free coloring pages to print out at:

Rita writes at the first of each month for a blog with 30 other authors.  The blog is about book publishing and promotion.  

Rita also sells her artwork through Fine Art America.  
More than 100,000 living artists and photographers currently offer six million images for sale on - with thousands of new artists and images being added each week.   Each month, more than five million visitors stop by to purchase prints from this ever-expanding collection and to socialize and network with the artists and other art collectors.

 To enjoy more of a good thing you can visit... 

Blog about Rita's 2 e-books