Meet Author and Illustrator Joy Heyer

Pink Umbrella Books is excited to announce that we are working with Virginia author and illustrator Joy Heyer on her children’s picture book Duck, Duck, Moose, which we plan to release in early 2018. We absolutely love Joy’s fun, creative story and whimsical illustrations, and we are excited to share them with you!

In the meantime, enjoy getting to know a little about Joy!

thomas_origWhich came first for you, writing or illustrating?

Illustrating, definitely. I have always loved to draw. Drawing is so relaxing. Writing stresses me out a little because I have to work at it more than drawing.

What book did you read over and over as a child?

I loved Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells. I’m not sure why I identified with Nora, but I did. Maybe I was a noisy child? I also loved Richard Scary’s Great Steamboat Mystery. Mysteries are now my favorite genre and I dream of one day writing and illustrating the perfect mystery book.

How do you find time to balance family and other obligations with your creative work?

Balance? I have no idea what that is. I often feel like I’m hanging onto the balance beam for dear life! I do find that when I prioritize everything, working on the most important first, everything falls better into place. I also am learning to eliminate those things that aren’t priorities, like HGTV and Sherlock.

Describe your work space. What items do you have to have in order to create?pig-sketch-3_orig

I have a room with all my craft, sewing, and art supplies. It is lovingly called the “crap room.” The most important feature of the room is the door. I close it while working to block out distractions. I also close the door when the room is a disaster so no one sees the mess. That relieves a lot of stress for me because if I have to clean up after drawing, I most likely won’t even start.

What advice would you give to author/illustrators who are just starting?

Practice. Practice. And more practice. But be careful that you are practicing correct drawing principles. Studying successful illustrators and artists will help you know what is a good illustration so your practice is productive.


Do you have a teacher or mentor who inspired you to believe in yourself and your art?

My friend and author, Lezlie Evans, started me on this path years ago and continues to cheer me on. Also, the instructors and other students I have met through the Society of Visual Storytelling (SVS) have been instrumental in where I am today. It’s important to have a community of supportive people with like-minded goals, dreams, and experiences to share ideas, learn from, and get feedback.

What is your “go to” motivational quote or saying?

My “go to” quote isn’t really a quote, but a parable. Whenever I think of quitting, I remember the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) where three men were given talents by their lord. Two men doubled the talents given them, but the third, for fear of what others would think, buried his. His lord was very upset by this and took away the talent, giving it to one of the others. This helps me never let my fear convince me to bury my one talent. So I keep drawing.

Name three things you love and one thing you hate.

I love my family, reading, and cinnamon rolls. I HATE wet napkins.

4065602Joy Heyer lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and three of her four crazy children. Her oldest child is married and now has a child of her own making Joy a Grandma. In a moment of weakness she agreed to get a dog and now has a furry shadow that follows her wherever he is allowed.  In her spare time….wait what spare time? Whenever her children and dog permit she loves to read, write, draw, run, and sew.

See more of Joy’s stunning illustrations at

First Look at One of the Illustrations from Duck, Duck, Moose


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