Thursday, September 21, 2017

Interview with Alexandra Thompson, 2017 SCBWI LA Mentorship Award winner

This interview series introduces the talented recipients of the SCBWI Mentorship Award at the 2017 Summer Conference. Please welcome Alexandra to the KidLitArtists Blog! Read on to learn more about her artwork, what she learned from her SCBWI mentorship, and what she has planned for her next steps as an illustrator.

About Alexandra Thompson:

Alexandra is an illustrator and maker based just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She's been making pictures since she could wield a crayon. As a child she was always inventing imaginary worlds and dreamed of illustrating picture books one day. After graduating with a BFA in Fashion from MassArt she spent several years in the apparel industry as a print designer. She decided to go freelance and happily discovered SCBWI along the way. She currently spends her time creating prints and graphics for children's apparel and illustrating her own cute and whimsical characters just waiting for their stories to be told.

Did the feedback you received during the mentorship critiques either change or confirm the direction of your illustration?

Yes.  My most current piece was the most well received, which made me feel like I have grown as an artist and I'm headed in the right direction.  

What kind of projects are you working on now?

I'm working on revisions as well as new work based on the feedback from the portfolio critiques.  They also encouraged me to develop dummies based off of a couple of my illustrations.  It's been fun exploring these characters and imagining what stories they have to tell.

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

I would really love to illustrate any kind of magical enchanted story.  Those were always my favorite as a kid.

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

Make lots of art! Good art, bad art.. doesn't matter.  You're not going to learn and get better by just sitting around THINKING about the art that you should make.  Even if a piece of art is garbage, you probably still learned something from it.  Make art for yourself.. no one has to see it! Always good to remember in the days where we feel constant pressure to share on social media.

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

Just one?! There are two from Lucy Ruth Cummins that were so applicable to my daily struggles as an artist:
  1. Don't leave fixes until later..fix the sketch!! (I've done this many times, and find I almost always struggle in the final art stage and end up having to go back and fix the sketch anyway)
  2. Don't hold onto a mistake just because it took a long time to make. (So much yes!!)

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

  • A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce was my absolute favorite.  My dad knew it by heart and I can still hear his voice reciting it every time I read it.  Still cracks me up! 
  • The Paper Bag Princess by Robert N Munsch - another funny one.
  • We had a beautiful pop-up book of Cinderella with gorgeous illustrations that I loved to look at.
  • Dinotopia by James Gurney - dinosaurs were my favorite and for a short while I wanted to be a paleontologist until I decided all the bones would be gone by the time I was a grown-up.

Where can we see more of your artwork?

You can find me on the interwebs at
I'm most active on Instagram- @alexandraco_illustration
Facebook - /alexandracoillustration
and new to Twittersphere @AlexandracoArt

Thanks, Alexandra! Welcome to KidLitArtists!


  1. Welcome to the KidLitArtists' blog, Alexandra!

  2. Loved the interview! Thanks for sharing these bits of favorite advice - very helpful!

  3. LOVE your work! Thanks for sharing some great advice...Can't wait to hold my copy of your book, The Gigiantic Turnip.