Monday, September 29, 2014

Interview with new SCBWI mentee, Ana Aranda

Ana Aranda was the recipient of the SCBWI Mentorship Award at the 2014 Summer Conference. Kidlit Artists would like to officially welcome Ana to the blog, and ask her a few questions about the Mentorship experience and about what she is up to these days.

Did the feedback you received during the mentorship critiques either change or confirm the direction of your illustration?  Are there any specific examples you can share? 

The feedback that I received confirmed that the pieces that I liked the most and had the most fun at creating were the strongest ones.

Some mentors pointed out that some of my individual illustrations had a potential story in them. This helped me to realize that many of my illustrations already had a great untold story that I would love to tell. My mind was bursting with them! This left me completely inspired and ready to work in new and exciting projects! I came back home, reopened my writing book and started looking for inspiration.

I am very grateful for all the meaningful critiques and for all the inspiration that I got from them!

What kind of projects are you working on now? 

Right now I am focusing in creating new pieces for my portfolio and new stories thanks to the Mentors’ suggestions. I’m also working on a picture book about a tree written by the poetic voice of Julia Billet for the French editor Éditions du Jasmin. I am very excited about this book since I’ve been working on it for a long time and I am very fond of the story. Julia’s metaphors and stories are beautiful to illustrate! I’m also getting ready for the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco where I will be sharing a booth with my super talented friend Jean Kim on October 4-5th. If you are reading this and you live in San Francisco, come visit us, we’ll be happy to see you! 

Is there any type of illustration (or other work) that you’re hoping for in the near future?

I would love to continue creating picture books and create playful board books. I would also love to create graphic novels about childhood memories.


Is there one really helpful piece of advice that you’ve gotten since pursuing illustration?  Any one piece of bad advice? 

The best piece of advice I’ve received has been from my family, who have always encouraged me to follow my dreams, as crazy as they may seem. A good friend told me once “Art is one of the few places where liberty still prevails”. That made me feel that as long as I create some art, I would feel free doing something that is completely mine to play and dream with.

What was one of your favorite quotes or lessons from the SCBWI Summer Conference? 

My favorite quote in the conference and the one that gave me the most goosebumps (the good kind of goosebumps) was when Judy Blume said: “Do not let anyone discourage you. If they do, get angry, not depressed.”

Also I loved Tomie DePaola’s quote which inspired my whole day: “Courage!”

What were some of your favorite books when you were a kid? 

When I was a kid, I loved reading the books from “Barco de Vapor” (Steamboat) collection in Mexico, which had beautiful stories for kids; from world exploring in fantastical places, to the beauty of the everyday life for a child.

I loved exploring magazines and encyclopedias for kids. My favorite book for a while was Rod Ruth’s “Album of Prehistoric Animals”.

Later on, some of my favorite books were “Little Women” and “Hamlet”.

Where can we find you online?  

You can find me at these different locations:

Twitter: @anaranda2

Instagram: @Anarandaillustration

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you around!

 Thanks, Ana!

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