Monday, September 24, 2018

Interview with Michelle Mee Nutter, 2018 SCBWI LA Mentorship Award Winner

This interview series introduces the talented recipients of the SCBWI Mentorship Award at the 2018 Summer Conference. Please welcome Michelle Mee Nutter to the KidLitArtists Blog!

About Michelle: 

"Michelle is an Illustrator from Boston, Massachusetts with a BFA in Illustration from MassArt. She wanted to be an artist the moment she realized she could buy a box of colors. Years later, she is even more passionate about art and creating work to inspire the next crayon-lover. If she isn’t furiously drawing in her studio, you can find her getting lost in corners of book stores."

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?

"YES! The feedback I got was a tremendous help in figuring out my next steps as an illustrator. There were some differing opinions that can be boiled down to taste but ultimately there were enough similar critiques to base a theme for myself.

The parts of my work that I need to strengthen is:
Narrative, character and incorporating more black & white pieces.

With new perspectives, I could sense a whole new direction into middle grade cover illustration and chapter vignettes."

What kind of projects are you working on now?

"I’m currently working on two manuscripts for my own picture books. Along with personal projects including but not limited to: illustrating my favorite dark fairy tales, creating work based off of a collection of short stories by Michael Cunningham, and Instagram challenges galore."

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

"My main focus is picture books but I would love to work on covers for middle grade and young adult books. Working on graphic novels would be a dream come true as well."

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

"Keep the ball rolling. No matter what, show up and draw. That’s the only way you can move forward with any piece and at the end of the day, brush mileage is what counts. (And do a lot of bad drawings, that’s how you get to the good stuff.)"

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

"“EAT CAKE! Good cake. Not bad cake.” Advice courtesy of Mike Curato

There were so many amazing keynotes and inspiring presentations. There was this tone throughout that really resonated with me, and that was to always stay true to yourself. Finding your voice is difficult in a world that is trying to tell us what to buy, think and do. The work we do will always be great if we’re honest with ourselves versus trying to fit someone else’s mold."

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

Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by Maurice Sendak.
The Witches by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake.
Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain...the list goes on and on.
Oh and I can’t forget...Babar by Jean de Brunhoff.

Thanks, Michelle! Welcome to KidLitArtists!

You can find more about Michelle and see more of her artwork on her website, her Instagram, and her Facebook

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