Illustrator Insight with Alice Brereton

Enter the gentle night with Nightlights by Paul Paolinlli and Dan Brewer. This lyrical picture book explores all the types of light that brighten the evening.


We were lucky enough to chat with the book’s illustrator, Alice Brereton, about being a children’s book illustrator, staying real, and Nightlights.

Q: How did you become a children’s book illustrator?

A: I don’t know. It’s a mixture of many things: working hard, making good choices, pestering your art teachers, problem solving, having a supportive mom, eating burritos and being okay with sitting on your butt for hours on end doodling, etc…I can’t say what sets me apart from other people who want to be a children’s book illustrator? It’s not a closely guarded secret or even a moment of luck, it’s just me being myself professionally… and drawing a lot.

Q: What is your favorite medium to work with?

A: I really enjoy using Photoshop. I love that I never run out of paint or paper. I also like all my art contained in one safe area so my cats can’t walk all over it.

Q: What were your first thoughts when you saw the text for Nightlights?

A: “Ooooooooo!” I was so excited I didn’t have thoughts, just stupid excited noises. I couldn’t believe that this book was being entrusted to me. It was exactly what I wanted to draw.


Q: Do you have a regular routine while creating a book?

A: Sadly no, my routine/process is to write self-deprecating post-it notes that remind me when things are due and to also do a healthy amount of panicking.

Q: What’s the easiest and hardest part of creating a book?

A: The easiest part of the book is following my detailed thumbnails sketches. The hardest part is making the detailed thumbnail sketches.

Nightlights thumbnails

Q: Why illustrate children’s books?

A: Because working in retail sounds like too much fun!

Q: What makes your book stand out?

A: I think the use of black and straight lines will make it pop on the book stand.


Q: Are you working on any other projects?

A: I am working on two books right now, one is about a little girl scientist and the other is about a tormented bunny.

Q: What books did you like to read as a kid? What type of books do you like to read now?

A: My favorite thing to read as a kid was poetry, I loved the book SunFlakes, which is a collection of short poems ranging from cheerful to depressing. Right now I am really enjoying the Fairyland series by Catherine M. Valente.

Q: What is your favorite night light and why?

A: As an adult I like to sleep in complete darkness, as a child I liked to leave my window shades open so the moon could light up my room.

Thanks so much, Alice. Find out more about Nightlights on our website and come back to the blog on August 14 to get to know authors Paul and Dan.

Illustrator Insight with Alice Brereton