Creator Corner: Karen Krossing and Dawn Lo

Welcome to Creator Corner! Every month, we’ll be interviewing the creators of our recent books. This month, we interviewed One Tiny Bubble author Karen Krossing and illustrator Dawn Lo. Their picture book about a tiny bubble called LUCA (our Last Universal Common Ancestor) that sparked all life on Earth publishes September 15, 2022.

Owlkids Books: When did you know that you wanted to be an author or illustrator?

Karen Krossing: I wrote stories and comics as a kid, and I dreamed of becoming an author. I still have a copy of my first comic book, which I created at age eight. It was called Lucky Lisa and featured Lisa, her parents, and her dog. I had a lot of fun creating it, and I like to share it with students during class visits. Some of the comics are really not funny. They are so unfunny that they (sometimes) make people laugh.

Dawn Lo: Drawing has been my favorite thing to do since I was a kid. Back then, the only job I knew that was related to art making was becoming a window display designer. But when I took a picture book-making class in university (taught by the amazing Calef Brown) I fell in love with the medium. I enjoy illustrating the narrative, playing with the book structure, and creating fun characters.

OKB: Karen, what inspired you to write this book?

KK: The moment I heard about our Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA), I grabbed my notebook and began scribbling notes. The story of a single cell that formed under harsh circumstances and sparked all life on Earth is a story of the impossible becoming possible. It’s miraculous. It’s heart-warming. It shows the mighty power contained in small things. I wanted to share this feel-good, informative story of our shared past.

OKB: Dawn, which spread did you most enjoy illustrating, and which spread was most challenging to illustrate?

DL: I have a couple favorites because this book was so fun to illustrate. I loved that I got to do some close up spreads for LUCA, and transitioned to illustrating characters and dotting in the details for other spreads. But it was probably the illustrations for the author’s note I enjoyed painting the most. It was the last spread that I worked on and I was in the zone and I love how loose the illustration turned out. I probably finished painting that within an hour or so. It was a very smooth process which is kind of rare.

I struggled a lot with the last spread — I had a lot of different ideas, but I didn’t know which one was the most suitable illustration to match the text and to end the book. With help from the lovely Owlkids Books team, we went through a lot of revisions to get this final art!


OKB: What do you both hope readers will take away from this book?

KK: I hope readers will be as awestruck as I am about LUCA. I hope they will be excited about the ways it connects us to all life around us and celebrates our common ancestry while honoring the diversity of life on Earth. I hope they will wonder, as I do, if life may have formed on other planets or moons in the same way it did on Earth.

DL: Be LUCA – small and mighty!

OKB: What is something readers may not know about you?

KK: Like any author, I adore books. But I don’t have enough time to read all the books that I want to. I have a secret daydream that, somehow, I could download a whole library into my brain. I’d be so happy to have all those books in my memory.

DL: I am constantly inspired by my grandma — her bold fashion and especially her optimistic outlook. I miss her dearly. 


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