Photo of Traci Van Wagoner taken by Kurt Keller
Photo frame
Art of Blue Bear teddy bear

Who is Traci Van Wagoner?

Traci Van Wagoner received a Bachelors degree in Illustration & Advertising Design from Utah State University and a BFA in Toy Design from Fashion Institute of Technology..... *snore* That’s the technical side of her background which says she's spent a lot of time in school drawing, painting, playing with type, page layout, reading thick books, taking tests, and oh yeah, getting illustration projects (she stayed up all night finishing) torn off the wall by the teacher and stomped on. Yes, art school can be rough. But it did teach her to be tough and has been invaluable in dealing with the drawer full of rejections from editors and agents over the years of working at being an author and illustrator.

Coming from a family of 8 kids, she also had big brothers who toughened her up and made sure she could take a punch. So later, after her first round of college, she was tough enough to move to the BIG city and try to be an illustrator. It took a lot of doing, but she did it. She has illustrated over 10 games, and 15 picture books. Her latest, Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons has won 25 awards including Best Book of the Year 2019 and star review from Kirkus, and Nelson Beats the Odds was #1 Best Seller on Amazon.

When she’s not writing or illustrating, you can find her taming dragons, walking her dog in the BIG city, playing board games, watching a movie with her honey (they own over 1,000 movies), or gardening on the roof with her head in the sky. A farm girl turned city slicker, NYC has been good to her, providing a career and her love, Kurt Keller. Shortly after they met (when he stole her new toy) in toy school at FIT, they joined forces, Traci handling the artsy side and he the techy side, and created a toy and game design company, Imagine That! Design. Traci loves being her own boss and getting to work with her rambunctious dog, Hanna, waiting patiently(?) for play time, and her turtle who sometimes begs for food. She happily spends her days creating fun for children in the form of games, toys, and books.

Traci's mission is to bring smiles to the world, to help foster better understanding between everyone, to encourage the use of your imagination, and to bring a bit of magic to the world. She’s always on the lookout for dragons.

SCBWI Member Badge Twenty + years
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Clients Include:

Nomad Press, Learning A-Z, Pelican Publishing, The Library Store, Creative Medicine, Pauline Books & Media, Roosterfin Games, Puddle Duck Publishing, LOONY, New Moon Magazine, Highlights Magazine, International Masters Publishers, Silver Editions, Ten to Two Children’s Books, Jacob Packaged Goods, Nancy Hall Associates, Herman Agency, SCBWI Bulletin / SCBWI Metro NY Newsletter, Once Upon a Time, EB Brands, Leap Frog

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Traci VW Self Portrait: Meet the Artist

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