For those new to the blog, Andrea Offermann is one of our contributors and was a recipient of the SCBWI Mentorship Award at the 2010 Summer Conference. We’d like to catch up with Andrea and ask her a few questions about the Mentorship experience and about what she is up to these days.
Kidlit Artists: Did the feedback you receive during the mentorship critiques either change or confirm the direction of your illustration? Are there any specific examples you can share?
Andrea O: The critiques confirmed my direction. Everybody said slightly different things about the portfolio, had different favorites and different advice, but the overall message I got was a confirmation of what I was doing. All mentors advised me in a different area, specific details I could adjust in my pieces, how I could professionalize my advertising, which area would probably be interested in my work etc. but all of them encouraged me to listen to my own instincts and believe in my work.
Kidlit Artists: Getting such specific and direct feedback on your work, did you find the experience enlightening? Affirming? Confusing? Conflicting? _______ (fill in the blank)? Why?
Andrea O: At first I thought some of the advice was conflicting, because I got contrary feedback on the same pieces in my portfolio, some mentors loved a piece while others advised me to take it out. But after letting the mentorship sessions sit for a while I realized that really a complete picture was developing. I also realized that I had to decide for myself how to interpret each piece of advice and utilize it to fit in with my work and where I wanted to go with it.
Kidlit Artists: Have you seen a shift in your work since you were mentored?
Andrea O: I felt more encouraged through the mentorship program to believe in my work and my instincts, and to trust in my style. All the mentors encouraged me to find my way of working on projects, that really helped me to be more confident when taking on a new project. Also, they all encouraged me to explore middle grade and young adult books, and I have been illustrating several books for that age range since.
Kidlit Artists: What kinds of projects are you working on now?
Andrea O: “Ghost Knight”, a middle grade novel by Cornelia Funke, just came out. I am finishing up work on “The Broken Lands”, a YA novel by Kate Milford and the prequel to “The Boneshaker” and a painting for the “Wild at Heart” show at Thinkspace gallery opening May 26. After that I will start illustrating a picture book for an Austrian publishing house.
Kidlit Artists: Is there anything, looking ahead, that you’re excited to be working on?
Andrea O: Yes, I am really looking forward to illustrating the picture book I just mentioned, it’s a fantastic story and the editor specifically told me that I can experiment and take it where I want, I can’t wait to start!
Kidlit Artists: Is there any type of illustration (or other work) that you’re hoping for in the near future?
Andrea O: Someday I would love to work on a graphic novel type story again.
Kidlit Artists: Last, please tell us where we can find you online.
Andrea O: Here is my website and blog: www.andreaoffermann.com, www.andreaoffermann.blogspot.com
Thank you Andrea!