Today we’d like to introduce you to Gina Perry.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Gina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born and raised in Weymouth, Massachusetts. I was a quiet and introverted kid that usually had her head stuck in a book or was drawing. As the first in my family to attend college I surprised everyone by choosing Syracuse University. It was a huge school far from home but I knew I wanted to try something BIG and studying animation was it. I loved college and I loved living around Boston after school when I found work at Olive Jar Studios, then freelanced for a game company. Yet, I knew it wasn’t a perfect fit. I wanted to make my own mark, not just be part of a team effort. I also wanted to tell stories but I didn’t figure out that children’s illustration was my true love until I moved to New Hampshire in 2002. I took a class and met peers who would be my support network. I worked for years developing a portfolio while also working as a designer, then art director at a stationary manufacturer. It was a long, slow, journey. I was just starting to get work as an illustrator when my husband and I decided we would start a family. I switched into stay-at-home mom mode. I stopped taking paying work and became my own client, writing my own picture books with the very little free time I had. After years of rejections and near misses, my debut picture book as author-illustrator, SMALL, was published in 2017. My youngest child had just started first grade. I mentioned it was a long, slow journey, right? With that being said, I’m currently enjoying an abundance of work. My next book, TOO MUCH! NOT ENOUGH! comes out this August and I’m working on a follow up that will be out next year. I’m also learning all about promotion of books – look for me sharing my books at bookstores, libraries and schools across New England.
Has it been a smooth road?
Publishing is notoriously bumpy, so my trip was no exception. I faced challenges common to all emerging author-illustrators: struggling to create work, struggling to find an agent, struggling to ignore friends that succeeded faster than I, rejections, close calls, then finally – a book deal. I would not have succeeded without the support of my peers, critique groups, debut author group (Picture the Books 2017).
What weighed on me the heaviest was my lack of identity during these years. I was on a long hiatus from paying work and every time anyone asked what I ‘did’ it stung. I wanted so desperately to say ‘I write and illustrate children’s books’ but with nothing to show for it I just stayed quiet. Every single time I share what I do for work now, a little piece of me rejoices, remembering just how long and hard the road was.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
As an illustrator, I am known for modern, colorful, and inventive characters and settings filled with humor and heart. As a writer, I think I am making a similar statement with an added element of empowerment for children. As a business owner I take pride in being a joy to work with, meeting deadlines, and working my hardest to give clients more than they expect.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think I really connected with the seacoast when I moved here. It took some time for me to adjust to the slower pace and friendlier vibe in New Hampshire but it really has become home. I think the quiet, access to nature, and the warm community has been the right formula for me to thrive.
- SMALL by Gina Perry, little bee books $17.99
- TOO MUCH! NOT ENOUGH! by Gina Perry, Tundra $17.99
- IT’s GREAT BEING A DAD by Dan Bar-el illustrated by Gina Perry, Tundra $16.99
- Website: www.ginaperry.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ginapineapple/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ginaperryart/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ginamarieperry
Portrait: Jennifer Moore and Group: Alison Goldberg