Story by Diane Roberts. Video courtesy of Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien

Schools & Libraries


I love to share with young people the process of illustrating books. I've had the pleasure of visiting many schools with great responses and rave reviews. Teachers and students alike have said that my presentations are "inspiring, lively and engaging." 

With Apple Keynote I start by sharing slides of my personal journey from childhood to becoming an illustrator.  I believe that it's important for young people to know that they can succeed even if they experience temporary setbacks along the way. Key points I emphasize are hard work, patience and education.

I show various slides of personal drawings and artwork along with the many steps involved in making a picture book such as reviewing the manuscript, research, sketches and creating artwork.  I may bring sketchbooks, original artwork and various visual aids for children to see firsthand to get a better understanding of how I work.

The presentation last 35 minutes followed by 5 minutes of questions. I conclude by inviting selected students to assist me in drawing a portrait. I’ll start with an oval shape then the students will draw different parts of the face and sign their name before sitting back down. Students have a lot of fun and we create an interesting character together. Presentations are modified according to grade level.  I'm also available for Skype visits.


50 minutes


  • Projector for my laptop

  • Easel w/ large pad of paper

  • Black or blue markers

  • Bottled water

  • Microphone is optional

photo courtesy of Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun

photo courtesy of Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun


Painting Together: Creating Your Own Artwork

We select a particular theme to draw and paint. The theme may vary depending on the season, holiday, etc. The first 5-10 minutes we’ll discuss ideas of what to create.  For the next 10-15 minutes kids will draw in pencil and then we paint the remainder of our time.  I'll walk around the room offering tips and suggestions for their artwork. I will send a recommended materials list in advance. Recommended for grades K-6

Historical Portrait: Learning While We Paint

Students will paint portraits of a historical person they research.  When painting a portrait of someone it's good to know something about him or her. Prior to my visit I will send a list of three famous people.  Each student will select one to research and write a short paragraph. The first 20 minutes I instruct how to draw a face and the rest of the time we paint. I'll walk around the room assisting students with their paintings. I will send a recommended materials list in advance.  Recommended for grades 3-6

Conferences & Festivals


An in-depth step-by-step approach that brings words to life visually when creating a picture book. Starting with reading of the manuscript, research, sketching ideas, the page layout and design, preparing the “book dummy” and final artwork. Sketchbooks, drawings and original artwork examples will be available.

Words into Pictures: The Picture Book Process

Historical Storytelling



Illustrative Research

When historical information is presented in the form of a picture book, it resonates in a way that can be very impactful. I share what it takes to bring history to life for young people.


An informative Keynote presentation that explains why thorough research is so important and how it elevates historical themed picture books.