Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mr. Pig Visits . . . Liza Woodruff!

Heigh ho, friends! Mr. Pig here. I'm on the road today, enjoying a gorgeous area of Vermont, nestled between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain. Author-illustrator Liza Woodruff invited me to visit her studio today! Care to come along?

Liza has illustrated some of my favorite picture books, and has just finished her first authored book, EMERSON BARKS, published by Christy Ottaviano Books in August, 2016.

And look, there she is now! Hello, Liza! Who's your furry friend?

Liza: Welcome, Mr. Pig! This is my dog Emerson, inspiration for my book EMERSON BARKS.

Mr. Pig: What an honor! I brought my book for you to sign. Maybe Emerson could add his paw print, too?

From EMERSON BARKS. Illustration copyright 2016 by Liza Woodruff.

Liz: Come inside! This is where I work.

Mr. Pig: Cozy! Why do you have two desks in your studio

Liza: Well, I paint and draw with traditional media on this one:

And I write and create digital art on this side. 

Mr. Pig: You sure have a lot of books! Which ones are your favorites?

Liza: Here are two of my new favorites:

And two of my old favorites:

Mr. Pig: Ah, yes! Fun fact: my second cousin appeared in The Year at Maple Hill Farm. Speaking of family, tell me about your pets here. 

Liza: I work mostly when my family is out of the house, but I am never alone.
Emerson keeps me company. 

So does Angus. Our bunny, Pepper, lives in a cage in my studio. Sometimes I take him out to play too. 

I keep this dog angel on the wall in my studio. I got it at gallery of the late artist, Stephen Huneck. It reminds me of our sweet old dog, Ilse, who used to keep me company too. 

Mr. Pig: Sweet! And what's this other art on your wall?

Liza: I keep these two old postcards illustrated by Molly Brett on my bulletin board. I love anthropomorphic illustrations. It’s fun to imagine animals in their little worlds. 

I keep the little mouse house that I made on a shelf in my studio:

Liza: I love to draw animals and children. Right now I am working on an illustration for my portfolio. I have some story ideas to go with it as well. 

Illustration copyright 2016 by Liza Woodruff.

Mr. Pig: Oooh! Will you share them with me? Perhaps over a snack? Or two? (Hint, hint.)

Liza: Of course, Mr. Pig. And thanks for visiting me in my studio!


Liza Woodruff has loved to make art for as long as she can remember. Her interest in children’s literature developed while working at The Horn Book Magazine during art school. The beautiful, funny and creative picture books that filled the offices of the book review magazine inspired her to focus her studies on children’s book illustration.
After receiving her BFA, she dove into children’s books and has since illustrated twenty-three of them. It had long been a goal of hers to write her own stories to illustrate. Her debut picture book, Emerson Barks, was published in 2016 by Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt.
Liza lives with her husband, two teenage children, and their various pets in an old farmhouse in Northern Vermont.
To learn more about her, visit her website:
Bird, squirrels, the mailman--Emerson can't help but bark his loudest when he gets excited. But when his bark scares one of his neighborhood friends into hiding, Emerson's girl Eva must forbid him from barking altogether. Can Emerson adjust to a life in silence? Or will he find a way to put his powerful bark to good use?
Emerson Barks is a charming dog story that shows how good intentions can triumph over mistakes.

“A story that may especially stand out for those who know or own—or are—a small barker." 
The Horn Book

"VERDICT: Emerson’s enthusiasm and good intentions will have readers rooting for him. A fun read-aloud for storytimes and small group sharing." 
School Library Journal


  1. What a nice peek inside Liza's studio! Seeing all of the inspirational animals and art is a treat.

  2. Thanks, Wendy! I hope you are doing well. :)

  3. Thanks for the great interview, Mr. Pig!! Emerson looks like the perfect writing/illustration pal! I can see how he inspired Emerson Barks! It looks like my kind of book! Looking forward to reading it! Congrats, Liza! Love the lighthouse cats too!! :)

  4. Thanks, Maria. Emerson is good company in the studio and great inspiration.