Rodolfo Montalvo was the recipient of the SCBWI Mentorship Award at the 2013 Summer Conference. Kidlit Artists would like to officially welcome Rodolfo to the blog, and ask him a few questions about the Mentorship experience and about what he 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?
Rodolfo: The feedback by the mentors did confirm a lot of the ideas I had about my work going into this year's conference. The portfolio I presented this year, much like the ones I presented the two years prior, was composed of a lot of pieces that explored slight variations of my "style." With some pieces I explored colors, with others I tried to limit my pen line, and one piece was just an old drawing that I pulled out to see if I could turn into a successful piece. While I'm always exploring with my work, creating the most cohesive portfolio possible is always my main goal. The mentors really help me figure out what was working and what wasn't. Every place where I was going in the right direction, the mentors really helped make the direction more clear, and every place I explored, whether I was successful or not, the mentors also helped in pointing the way.
Kidlit Artists: What kind of projects are you working on now?
Rodolfo: Currently, I am working on the sequel to "The Contagious Colors of Mumpley Middle School" and on a couple of picture book dummies. It has been really great getting to go back to the "Contagious Colors" world. We are currently working on the cover and should be completing the work pretty soon. But we still have all the interior illustrations to get to, which I'm really looking forward to. One of the dummies that I'm working on is based on the illustration with the boy with the paper airplanes, his name is Vincent, and I'm co-writing that project with my wife René. The other dummy is a new idea I've been playing with about a boy in a mountain. This project is very early in the development stage and right now I'm just having fun with the words and the drawings.
Kidlit Artists: Is there any type of illustration (or other work) that you're hoping for in the near future?
Rodolfo: I would love to get to write and illustrate my own graphic novel. Actually, the first project I tried writing was a graphic novel. When René and I were dating I asked her if she wanted to write the project with me. We worked on it for a while but I think it was probably too big of a project to start off on. So we eventually moved into picture books. That same graphic novel project is one that I really want to go back to and give it another go. There is a short list of stories for graphic novels that I really want to work my way through.
I still haven't done a picture book either, so I'm really hoping I get to do one sometime in the near future.
Kidlit Artists: Is there one really helpful piece of advice that you've gotten since pursuing illustration? Any one piece of horrible advice?
Rodolfo: I don't know if it was a piece of advice that I might have heard or just something that just stuck with me, but patience and persistence have always been very important in my path to becoming an illustrator. Whatever small victories, or goals that I've met, they have never been accomplished over night. Everything that I have as an illustrator is owed to countless hours working on my craft, staying focused on my goals, and going for it, over and over again.
Kidlit Artists: Last, please tell us where we can find you online.
Rodolfo: You can contact me here:
Kidlit Artists: Thank you Rodolfo!