Children's Book Illustrator Priscilla Burris Visits FIDM

April 28, 2017

Children's book illustrator and author Priscilla Burris graduated with her Fashion Design/Creative Design degree from FIDM, and recently visited the Los Angeles campus as a guest speaker. She serves on the Board of Advisors for The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and is the U.S. National Illustrator Coordinator and Advisor. We sat down with her to find out more about her successful career in publishing.

How has your FIDM education helped shape your career? It provided confidence and direction in my discovery of the career I am now enjoying. Many of the lessons I learned while a student at FIDM remain close to heart and mind. Both the illustration and business classes helped shape how I view my work and interact with colleagues.


Tell us a little about yourself and your career path: It was a combination of studying at FIDM, then working as a preschool teacher, and furthering my education for early childhood education that culminated in my eventually becoming a children’s book illustrator. All my characters wear outfits that I create and design, and this is definitely one of the highlights of my work!

What is your creative process? When given a manuscript to illustrate, I first create rough sketches, then revisions, and another round of sketches until the final art is completed. I like to get to know the characters whether I am working on a book, or creating new images and illustrations just for fun!


Tell us about a recent project: Delighted to share that I have a new picture book coming out in August called “Grandma’s Tiny House,” written by JaNay Brown-Wood and published by Charlesbridge Publishing. I have just completed a picture book that will be out in 2018. And currently, I am working on my own picture book as author/illustrator and am thrilled about it!!

Any advice for someone unsure how to pursue their creative dreams?  Whatever the creative dream is or will be, I strongly encourage others to find a way to practice being creative daily—try new mediums and ideas! Be inspired by others, cheer them on, and find inspiration. I like to say that inspiration wants to be found—we just need to be ready to see it, hear it, and welcome it. Never ever give up. And, when any little thoughts of doubt pop up, just tell them “STAY,” and keep on your creative path! There is only one you.

What is your biggest goal right now? To continue creating unique and lovable and humorous characters and stories for children’s books.

Anything else you’d like to share? I’m very, very thankful for the gift and opportunity and blessing of being a FIDM grad! I love my job!


Categories: Fashion Design, Guest Lecturers, Alumni