Mai Kemble

Mai Kemble - Designer

Lancaster, CA, USA

My art is hand-drawn and digitally colored. I love to marry illustrations to text- making each story unique for a lasting childhood memory.

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Overview

What's my process? I have been a freelance illustrator for 15 years. My hand-drawn images have been featured in picture books, board books, clothing, websites, etc.. I have experience designing these books from sketch to finish as digital files that are print-ready. Each project begins by reading the manuscript and learning what the writer's vision is for their story. After creating sketches of the characters I can then move on to layout or a book dummy. The cover is usually last because it needs to sum up the overall tone of the story. If needed I can also place text and other elements needed such as barcodes and publishing information. Each stage is shown to my clients for approval before moving forward. I find that this method works best so there is an initial look established for the entire book and there are no surprises.

What do I get out of it? I aim to evoke emotions from readers and give each story a real personality and message. I have loved picture books since revisiting them in college while studying illustration and have been a serious collector. I love studying their rhythm and how the writer and illustrator can perfect how to best convey the story. They are the ultimate medium to reach a child's own private world of thought and imagination. I want the books I work on to reach that viewer's heart. I take these projects seriously (yes, even the humor books) and approach them as cherished creations by each writer.

What do you get? You will get the absolute best attempt at making your story be the best it can be- full of heart and endearing images that hopefully will stay with the reader for life.
Fiction
Fantasy
Holiday
Picture Books

Awards

  • SCBWI Illustration "Cruising" Winner 2007
  • SCBWI Featured Artist 2007

Work experience

Illustrator

The Magnus Company
February, 2022 – June, 2022 (4 months)

Illustrator for picture book Sloane in the City by Jade Ogunnaike

Illustrator

Child Like Faith Children's Books LLC
July, 2021 – March, 2022 (8 months)

Illustrator for picture book This Is Me by Larry S. Glover

Illustrator

Lil' Oil Publishing
May, 2021 – April, 2022 (11 months)

Illustrator for picture book Chasing Chase by Sherryce St. Amant

Illustrator

White Feather Interpreting, LLC
March, 2021 – May, 2021 (2 months)

Illustrator for picture book I Don't Like That! by Julie Balassa

Illustrator

DGS (KDP Kids Books)
August, 2020 – April, 2021 (8 months)

Illustrator for picture book Julianne and the Shaggy Dog by James Fogarty.

Illustrator

Ewonderment, LLC
April, 2020 – August, 2020 (4 months)

Illustrator for picture book Festival of the Elves by Angeli Elliott

Illustrator

Bowker
January, 2019 – July, 2019 (6 months)

Illustrator for picture book My Dragon by Monique Nelsen.

Portfolio (10 selected works)

I Can Speak Bully

Kevin Morrison

A tool for parents to use in bringing their children on the journey of understanding bullies and how to help them find the friendship and acceptance they are truly looking for.

A tool for parents to use in bringing their children on the journey of understanding bullies and how to help them find the friendship and acceptance they are truly looking for.

Polka-Dot Fixes Kindergarten

Catherine Urdahl

It's Polka-dot's first day of kindergarten and armed with her trusty fix-it kit, she can handle anything—just like her Grandpa. When she gets to school, though, everything goes wrong. Her name-tag has her baby name on it and she makes a mess when she tries to paint! Duct tape, runny soap, and dotted bandages just aren't enough to fix her kindergarten catastrophes. And, when it comes to dealing... read more

It's Polka-dot's first day of kindergarten and armed with her trusty fix-it kit, she can handle anything—just like her Grandpa. When she gets to school, though, everything goes wrong. Her name-tag has her baby name on it and she makes a mess when she tries to paint! Duct tape, runny soap, and dotted bandages just aren't enough to fix her kindergarten catastrophes. And, when it comes to dealing... read more

I'm So Not Wearing a Dress!

A fun (inexpensive!) picture book for the un-fancy Nancy’s.Shelby likes to play sports in her favorite red sneakers. She likes to dig for worms with her best friend, Nate. She does not want to have tea parties with her next door neighbor, Sophie. And when she is asked to be a flower girl in her aunt’s wedding, she knows one thing for sure: SHE IS SO NOT WEARING A DRESS! A spunky heroine, adora... read more

A fun (inexpensive!) picture book for the un-fancy Nancy’s.Shelby likes to play sports in her favorite red sneakers. She likes to dig for worms with her best friend, Nate. She does not want to have tea parties with her next door neighbor, Sophie. And when she is asked to be a flower girl in her aunt’s wedding, she knows one thing for sure: SHE IS SO NOT WEARING A DRESS! A spunky heroine, adora... read more

My Dragon

Works, Tubby, Nelsen, Monique, Kemble, Mai S.

Festival of the Elves The Magic Around You

Elliott, Angeli J, Kemble, Mai S

Julianne and the Shaggy Dog

Fogarty, James, Kemble, Mai

Chasing Chase

St. Amant, Sherryce, Hall, Rachel L., Kemble, Mai S.

I Don't Like That!

Tales, White Feather, Betz, Amy, Kemble, Mai S, Charles, Melinda

Mai has 18 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Keith Alkek
Mai exceeded my expectations in every way. She was completely collaborative and struck a great balance between suggesting good options and following my ideas for images - very harmonious. Her illustrative skills are incredible and adaptive. She was on time and patient. I found the experience productive and fun and it ended with a book that was better than expected. I highly recommend Mai.

Keith Alkek, February 2023


Jacqueline Handy
I'm excited to continue working with Mai. She did a beautiful job in a short amount of time.

Jacqueline Handy, February 2023


James Fogarty
I wish I could rate her higher. Mai has shown dedication, professionalism, and incredible skill. She's carried the book, coming up with layouts, with fascinating layouts, and incredibly skilled drawing. I can't imagine working with someone else!

James Fogarty, September 2022


Britt Gilmore
I could not be happier with my entire collaborative experience with Mai. She is so kind, patient, and TALENTED. Communication was quick, thoughtful, and extremely supportive throughout the whole process and I ended up with illustrations that exceeded my own expectations. I hope to work with Mai again and would recommend her to anyone.

Britt Gilmore, July 2022


Jade Ogunnaike
Mai is the best. Her skill, artistry, thoughtfulness, and ability to take feedback are second to none!

Jade Ogunnaike, June 2022

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