Ruth E. Harper

Ruth finds herself sweetly at home in the rolly-polly hills of western Iowa recently, much like the giant green hills of her childhood on the south coast of England. It’s here, in breezy small-town peace, her studio and paints call her the loudest.

Fresh into America, she began her journey as a graphic artist at age 18, becoming a designer and then art director, which training provided a foundation in solid design skills. Ruth met an author and actually asked for a book to illustrate (yes, The Kissing Hand. No, not the right way to do it!). She devoured tons of picture-books and relied on good design principles, way before there were groups to join or books on how to make books.

After her first two published books, Ruth dug into studying all forms of art and history in order to teach 1-8th grade art ,and wrote an accredited art curriculum for a large private school. She joined a group and practiced watercolor then returned to her first love - book illustration. Once her children had grown and time was once again her own, she began the long quest of studying book illustration (aka joining SCBWI) and the art of writing her own books. She has since illustrated two more.

Traditional watercolor is Ruth’s preferred medium, marveling at how it shifts and blends all by itself into organic patterns like earth and sky. She draws in pencil and masks areas with rubber cement and then washes paints over, gradually building layers, much like graphic designers did before computers. Now she plans all her work on a large iPad (Procreate), using it for composition and color comps.

Ruth is the illustrator of four books (and two more on the way): The Kissing Hand, Sassafras, Happy Mamas, and Otters, Snails and Tadpole Tails. She’s a member of SCBWI and Colorado Watercolor Society.