Marion W. Lent - Illustrator


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About Marion

My bio is as follows:

I live in Central Vermont with my husband and two young daughters.

We both work at home. He's a novelist, and I'm a freelance illustrator.

I was born in Canada, while my father was still in medical school. We later moved to Massachusetts where he practiced and taught for many years. I'm one of six kids, and with my father working long hours and my mother holding the household together, I had ample time to indulge in dreaming, reading, and most of all, drawing. It was a skill that seemed to flow naturally, letting me slip off into worlds of my own making.

We moved to North Carolina when I was sixteen and after graduating high school I spent a year in Belgium. There I discovered, among many other new things, Asterix and Tintin. To my mind, Herge was and remains the master of the perfect graphic novelist/illustrator. The story lines, multitude of idiosyncratic and hilarious characters along with his art was pure genius.

After my year abroad I proceeded to a double major in political science and French. My creative endeavors were put aside for a bit.

Following graduation I worked at Malaprops bookstore in Asheville, NC where eventually I was ordering children's books as well as working with art again. I designed a new logo that they still use today (20 yrs later) as well as a window display for a national contest put on by Vintage Contemporaries (Random House) in 1987 and was one of three winners. Malaprops display was the one pictured in Publishers Weekly. Ahh, my first taste of success. . .and with a budget of 50 bucks.

It was during this time that I started focusing more on my love of creating stuff... painting, drawing, building. My life was heading in a new direction.

After meeting Jeffrey and falling madly in love, we got married. We both continued to pursue our own creative work. I worked for several years in independent bookstores and then as an illustrator for HighReach Learning, a company which designs preschool and after-school programs. I also designed several logos, and freelanced for other companies ranging from book illustration (Zero Population Growth), to Christmas cards and several t-shirts.

After MANY lean years, my husband sold his first novel to Grove Atlantic and we finally had our first child. Soon after, we moved to Vermont and bought an old farmhouse and barn on some land. I stopped working and was a mom, my husband's first editor, stone wall builder (my Andy Goldsworthy phase), stall cleaner, posthole digger, and all 'round handy man.

Last year, when our second daughter entered kindergarten, it was time to stir things up. We sold our house and bought a much bigger old Victorian (room for a studio space for both of us) in a quiet neighborhood in the Finger Lakes region. The only real challenge now is getting all four of us and our two dogs (one being an Irish Wolfhound) into our Honda Accord to go hiking.

Favorite illustrators and inspirations include Susan Meddaugh's Martha Speaks, Bob Graham's Let's Get A Pup Said Kate, anything Kevin Henkes produces, and the more recent discovery, Simon James' Baby Brains. There's also the great Peggy Ratham. Ruby the Copycat clearly should have won the Caldicott (in my humble opinion). Finally, I believe William Steig was a true master of children's picture books, in both his choice of words and loose but sure illustrations. Two of his titles, Dominic, and Amos and Boris, top my list of favorites.

When I used to ask my girls what they wanted to be when they grew up, my older daughter Esther would always say "a writer" (my younger one, Clara, would answer with great volume and enthusiasm, " a rock star!" but that's another story--)

Now Esther says "a writer and illustrator." . . . cool.