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?
Christina: The feedback I received definitely confirmed a lot of the ideas (positive and negative) that had been swirling around in my head for a while. The art that instinctively comes out of me is colorful and bold, but I had been feeling that I wanted to infuse more quiet emotion/drama into my overall portfolio. A few of the mentors touched on this issue as if they were reading my mind --this confirmed that I definitely needed to do what my gut had been telling me. I got some great suggestions from the mentors and am constantly thinking about how to infuse them into my work. For example, E.B. Lewis suggested I look into my history to find a great story to tell. He reminded me that personal history will infuse that intangible emotional connection into the work, which should translate to the viewer. I'm definitely always keeping that idea in mind as I paint.
Kidlit Artists: Have you seen a shift in your work since you were mentored?
Christina: Lately, I've been doing a lot of educational work which is very tightly art-directed, so there's not much room for adding personal flavor. But, in my down time, I've been sketching and doing mini paintings on my iPad which helps to keep things more free. I need to add more spontaneity into my work and painting on the iPad has been just the ticket. I'm hoping to infuse some of that spontaneity into my personal work when I have the chance.
Kidlit Artists: What kinds of projects are you working on now?
Christina: I recently finished a bunch of educational work/early readers and I just started working on a picture book about baseball for Stone Arch Books. After that, I have a few ideas for books that I would like to create dummies for. My goal is to have at least one dummy ready for this summer's big SCBWI conference.
Kidlit Artists: Is there any type of illustration (or other work) that you’re hoping for in the near future?
Christina: Of course I would love to write and illustrate my own stories. I'd also love to do some black and white work, perhaps for chapter book interiors. For some reason black and white illustration has really intrigued me lately. Album covers is something from left field that's been nagging at me recently too. And of course, can't forget my childhood dream of working for Disney! Hey, gotta put that out in the universe, right???
Kidlit Artists: Yes!!!
Kidlit Artists: Please tell us where we can find you online.
You can find my website and blog at www.christinaforshay.com.
I'm also on twitter (@chrstinaforshay) and Facebook. See you there!
Thanks for joining us Christina!