A talk with guest artist, writer, and illustrator Elise Hylden

Guest Artist, Writer, and Illustrator                                          Elise Hylden

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?  Can you tell us a little about yourself? I grew up on a farm in South Dakota with 5 noisy brothers and sisters. When I look back on my first 20 years, it seems it was mostly playing and reading and kittens and cows. I attended Minnesota State University in Moorhead for my BFA in drawing and a have a minor in creative writing. I’m married to Jarrod who always gives me encouragement and an honest opinion. In college I mostly worked in watercolor and color pencil, but I’ve been dabbling in the digital world since then (command-z, baby!). I also love the Lord and have him to thank for any smidgeon of talent I possess.

Giraffes are Insincere: “A drawing a day” from 2011. I wondered what
this super tall animal would look like inside a short, wide format.

2. When did you know that you wanted to be an artist? My mom is a stained glass artist (and was a graphic artist and art teacher before that), so I’ve always wanted to able to draw like her. I don’t think I actually considered choosing art as a career until my second year out of high school. I attended the Association Free Lutheran Bible School for two years after high school. During that time I was able to study the Scriptures and grow in my faith, and I was also able to figure out what I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life.

Grafton Backyard: Part of my “A drawing a day” efforts last summer.The house we were living in for the summer had a clothesline! I was so excited.

3. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? I was I always wanted to know how to write well, but I didn’t actually decide to study writing in depth until my sophomore year of college. 4. When did you know you wanted to be an Illustrator? I took my first real art classes in college, and decided right off the bat that illustration would be my focus. I wanted to make people laugh and I love story-telling. I worked in an elementary school as part of an Americorps academic enrichment program as well. Seeing the need for quality children’s literature solidified my decision.

Noxious: “A drawing a day” from 2011. Although I grew up hatingthistles (farmers daughter, hey), I still think they’re pretty whimsical with their long necks and bright pink heads.

5. What are 5 things that you enjoy doing besides your art?

  • 1. I really enjoy reading picture books that make it seem easy.
  • 2. I love finding new places to explore with Jarrod. Especially places with turtles.
  • 3. I am a piano teacher by night, and it’s so much fun.
  • 4. I like discovering new music to keep me going through the day.
  • 5. I eat popcorn almost every night.
Pianoman: “A drawing a day” from 2012. I spend every evening
teaching little tiny kids how to play the piano. I thought it might
be nice to see someone else play.

6. How do those things inspire your drawing and painting? Of course it’s always helpful to see how other writers and artists make picture books. It’s also comforting to know that it can be done! Jarrod helps to give me another perspective and keeps me grounded and content. My students keep me entertained with everything that comes out of their mouths. And I simply couldn’t function without music and popcorn on a regular basis.

I Miss My Dogs: Illustration to accompany a short story in the MSUM
Alumnews. I wanted to emphasize that this man, although he is living
in a stale, routine-based living environment, still has life and
unique personality.

7. What are 5 songs that are playing on your Ipod Playlist?

  • You’ve Got The Love (Florence and the Machine, The XX remix)
  • I Am In My Being Here With You (Waterdeep)
  • When Death Dies (Gungor)
  • Ezekiel (Gungor)
  • Abraham (Sufjan Stevens).
Scrape and Scrub…: Illustration to accompany an early draft of a
story I did for a class on writing for children. The girl in the
story is notorious for drama and exaggeration, so you can see how
cleaning a few breakfast dishes can quickly turn into a grueling

8. Do you have a studio? What does it look like? Not exactly a studio, I do have a nice little corner for my drawing table and Mac. It’s close to the kitchen. :) 9. What is your dream? To write and illustrate books and land myself a Caldecott.

World: Testing out some new digital image-blending techniques.

To keep your eye on Elise in the future visit her website here!

4 thoughts on “A talk with guest artist, writer, and illustrator Elise Hylden

  1. Devin, I love that you highlighted Elise — not only for her amazing talent, but for who she is as a person — joyful, genuine, and beautiful. I’m adding your blog to my favorites. Say “hello” to everyone in Australia.

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