Monday, October 31, 2016

Interview with 2016 LA mentee, Shahrzad Maydani

Shahrzad Maydani was the recipient of the SCBWI Mentorship Award at the 2016 Summer Conference. Kidlit Artists would like to officially welcome Shahrzad 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?

I received a lot of encouragement which was amazing because I had taken so much time away from illustrating that I felt sort of like an impostor even attending a SCBWI conference. One wonderful piece of feedback I received was to "embrace your difference".

What kind of projects are you working on now?

I'm currently in talks with a publisher to illustrate a board book, which I'm very excited about, as well as working on a few projects of my own.

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

I feel very lucky to be able to participate in making books for children and so for fear of angering the picture book gods I wont mention wanting more! I will say, however, that I hope to be able to stay true to myself and remain authentic in my work. Whatever form that takes.

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

The best advice i've ever gotten would have to be to do what YOU do best and don't force yourself to create anything that doesn't come naturally to you. When I was first creating work I was given a lot of "bad" advice about filling my portfolio with kids that were happy and smiling and because it didn't come naturally to me I ended up making work that wasn't very good and quite stale. The minute I decided to just draw what I draw, things fell into place.

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

"The only characters I can respect and draw are characters that look like they don't want to be there." --Jon Klassen

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

As a child I absolutely adored anything by Roald Dahl. My favourites, though, were The Twits and Matilda. There were also a lot of Le Petit Nicolas books lying around my house, so I ended up pouring over them quite a bit as well, along with copious amounts of Beatrix Potter's work.


See more of Shahrzad's's work on her website, as well as the Catbird Agency Site.

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