Inside the author-illustrator relationship

As new picture book Aaron Slater, Illustrator is released, Andrea Beaty and David Roberts, creators of the Questioneers series for children, talk about the inner workings of the author-illustrator relationship

Since the success of Iggy Peck, Architect in 2007, Andrea Beaty and David Roberts have collaborated on five picture books in the massively popular Questioneers series, each celebrating the passion and perseverance of the vocationally minded children of Blue River Creek.

Initially celebrating STEM subjects such as architecture, science and engineering, the books have gone on to tackle politics in 2019’s aptly timed Sofia Valdez, Future Prez, and dyslexia in this year’s Aaron Slater, Illustrator, and have spawned a series of chapter books, toys, a stage show and now an Obama­-produced Netflix series.

Beaty’s rhyming verse is a joy to read aloud, but it really comes alive when paired with Roberts’ vibrant illustrations, littered with details and Easter eggs that connect the stories. Plus it helps that, with a background in fashion, Roberts has a fantastic eye for design, complementing Beaty’s words with Modernist furniture, Brutalist architecture and the best-dressed parents in children’s literature.

Below, I chatted with the pair about the genesis of the series, the nature of the author-illustrator relationship, and the importance of Sade.

Top and Above: Pages for Aaron Slater, Illustrator, the latest title in the Questioneers series, published by Abrams & Chronicle Books