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A Success Story: Darren McKee

Children’s book illustrator Darren McKee boasts over twenty years of experience in the field. His blissful, whimsical and playful illustrations cover subjects and specialties ranging from Animals, Education and Greeting Cards to Americana, Food & Beverage and Environmental. Darren brings to life a world of imagination, of humor and of character. McKee has the skill and profound ability to bring fruits, animals, planets and every day inanimate objects such as wallets and tea kettles to life with highly emotive features. Teaming up with wonderful book publications, McKee has the artistic eye and creative talent to illustrate more abstract concepts like deciphering emotions from one another. Bringing out the child within each and every one of us, it is nearly impossible to view McKee’s work without a sense of wonder, of curiosity and of joy.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Darren Mckee regarding his recent success using Agency Access services.

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Which services of ours did you utilize and what was the success that you garnered?

I started using the Campaign Manager Lite program a few years ago with Cheryl Cannataro and Karen D’Silva. I thought I needed more help with marketing and added it with direct mail of postcards and phone marketing calls. It was one of the post cards that has gotten me this project with Reading A-Z.

What prompted you to turn to Agency Access for your marketing needs?

Like I said, I needed help with the marketing. Work that I had been doing with a few publishers before 2001-2007 just went away. I had been doing my own mailings and calls, but was not getting the work I wanted so I thought I would get some help.

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I’m always interested to find out why artists choose to work in the medium that they do. For you, has it always been illustration? Why illustration?

It has always been Illustration/Cartooning. I think I just like telling stories with images. Even when I was a kid, it was with pencils and markers on paper.

Do you primarily illustrate children’s books? If so, what inspired you to create for that market? 

I have always enjoyed children’s books and character design. Additionally, I have always enjoyed the work of such people as Bill Pete, Dr. Seuss and Richard Scarry. I was lucky that my job with Lyrick studios (we created Barney and Friends) gave me an opportunity to work in the publishing for Barney and a few other books with Humongous Entertainment before Barney was sold and we were all let go in 2001. But that gave me a chance to work with Scholastic, who published Barney books for a few years and with Publications International who did Barney and then Scooby-Doo.

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From where do you source your daily inspiration?

I get my ideas from many places. Sometimes, the best ones are when I am out for rides around our lake. Yes we have lakes in Dallas. Man made ones from the 1920’s. However, it comes mainly when my mind is relaxed and not really thinking about anything in particular. Or something my sister-in-law’s kids say, or a simple drawing.

I’m so curious to know how you linked up with Free Spirit Publishing – as their mission is one I am deeply passionate about. Providing youth with self-help tools and tips to empower them in the face of adversity or challenging situations. How did you first connect with Free Sprit, and does their mission resonate with you?

Free Spirit Publishing found me a fews years back for two books named Zach Apologizes and Zach Gets Frustrated by William Mulcahy. They were a lot of fun to work on. They do have a great mission statement and I enjoyed working with them very much.

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To see more of Darren McKee’s work, visit his site.

Lindsey Steinberg

Having graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Sociology and a concentration in Creative Writing from Purchase College, Lindsey's love for crafting creative content and brainstorming blog posts has allowed her access into the worlds of Advocacy, Freelancing, Journalism, Copywriting, Columnism, Ecommerce, Editorial Work and now - Art. She has a deep love for memoir writing, as her work has been featured in several online publications. She is ecstatic to take her journey as Agency Access's sole creative content copywriter.

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Join the conversation

  • David Garner - 2 years ago

    Checkout my web site>
    I have been doing all sorts of print design and illustration work, including children’s books (which are not shown on the site).
    If working with you can drum up some more work for me, I’m interested.