Happy Friday, everyone!
We are continuing with our Lucky 13: Make 2013 Your Year Coffee & Conversation interviews with conference faculty and presenters! Missed our previous ones? No worries, just click the below links to catch up.
Today, we have the lovely Rebecca Evans, an illustrator who has a BA Visual Art with a concentration in Drawing and Illustration! She had worked for nine years as an artist and designer before returning to her first love: children’s book illustration. Her experience includes teaching at the Chesapeake Art Center, and publishing artwork with magazines and publishing houses.By 2014 she will have illustrated five picture books and six middle grade readers, including The Shopkeeper’s Bear, and Naughty Nana, to be released in September, 2013!
At the conference, Rebecca will be talking about The Secret Life of Illustrators on Saturday, September 21st and she will be participating in panels on Sunday. And now that she’s settled in the cyber chair, let’s begin!
Okay, Rebecca, which illustrated children’s books were your favorites back when you were a young reader and why?
When I was little I loved the fairy tales, especially ones where the girls wore beautiful dresses. I loved the magic and wonder inside the story and of course the happy ending that every little girl wants! One of my favorites was an old copy of Thumbelina drawn in a very art nouveaux style. My mother tells me I made her read Cinderella 7 million times. I still have that old book, held together with packing tape and I still love to read it to my kids.
Gorgeous! What was your favorite thing to draw as a kid?
I went through a cat phase as a young child, I must have drawn every type of cat known to man. I had a cat growing up who hated me and never wanted me to touch him. That didn’t stop me from trying though, and I received many, many scratches for my un-requited love. I loved how beautiful and graceful he was and so I drew him over and over again even when he wouldn’t let me touch him. Eventually I graduated on to drawing princesses and dragons and handsome hero’s of course but I still think I have the most Cat pictures out of everything I drew. This one is from 4th grade 🙂
Aw, how adorable! Papa Rosie must have been proud. 🙂
Okay, here’s a good one for an illustrator: We’ve all heard of writer’s block … but what about illustrator’s block? Have you ever been stuck on how to illustrate a scene or character? How did you break past that?
YES! There are definitely times when I get stuck, or when a picture does not come out as well as I had hoped and I get frustrated. You could ask my critique group and I’m sure they could come up with numerous examples!
I remember one in specific where I had to draw a small girl climbing or riding on a giant fish. I must have re-sketched the scene 10 times and every time the composition was either too static, or too busy, or didn’t give the right feeling to the passage. I was totally stuck and I had been working on it for WEEKS! I had to step away from the problem for a little while and move on to something else.
In the meanwhile I began to look at other artists and how they had painted fish swimming or moving through the water. Eventually I stumbled upon an artist who had captured the mood I needed in my painting and it inspired me to go back and try something completely different that I hadn’t previously thought of. It worked! The inspiration of someone else’s work allowed me to open doors in my own. Unfortunately after all that, the scene had to be cut from the book and the picture that I had struggled over for weeks isn’t even in the final dummy!
Ouch, that must have hurt! Now, what’s the best part about being a children’s book illustrator? What’s the worst part?
The Best part is being able to be silly and creative and work in my pajamas at my house! The worst part is deadlines, when I HAVE to be silly and creative even when I’m not feeling like it.
We already got to see your lovely work area in a previous interview:
Now can you describe your typical work day?
Well, I’m a mom of 3 children 8 and under, and my studio is in my house. SO…. my work days often need to be flexible around children, interruptions, nap time, and school. My ideal work day is to get everyone off to school and steal a few hours in the morning to paint, ALONE! Then I break to pick up pre-schoolers, lunch, play some barbies or doctor, or maybe blow bubbles if the mood strikes with the kiddos. I try for nap time or sometimes it’s just “quiet time” in my house, to return emails, phone calls and maybe do some sketching. Then it’s getting kids off the bus, making dinner, doing homework and betimes (my favorite time is bedtime!) Sometimes if I have deadlines it’s back to work after everyone’s in bed until I collapse and start again!
What is inspiring your current work-in-progress?
My latest work in progress is inspired by being a mom and all the joy and frustration that comes along with it! Here’s a little sneak peek:
Nice, looks fantastic! Okay, last question: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Draw what you love and it will show in your work. If you try to be someone you are not, and you draw things you don’t like, that will show too!
Awesome, thanks, Rebecca! We always love it when you visit our cyber cafe and we’re looking forward to seeing you at the conference!
Happy writing and drawing, everyone! 🙂