Friday, August 28, 2020

Interview with Neha Rawat- 2020 SCBWI Summer Spectacular Showcase Winner

© Neha Rawat

Hello Neha! Congratulations on your award! How does it feel winning the whole Showcase among so many other talented artists?

It's been over a week since the announcement was made and I'm still a complete mixed bag of emotions. I jump between feeling surreal, exhilarated, surprised, overwhelmed, lucky but mostly grateful :)

Well hooray for you and your art! What kind of projects are you working on now?

I have 3 children's books on my plate right now. My first international picture book deal with Candlewick Press was announced just this week which I'm super stoked about! The other 2 projects I received through my agency, Advocate Art, and I'm excited for them as well! 

That's wonderful news! Is there any other type of illustration work that you’re hoping for in the near future?

I love drawing cute and funny things so I would love the opportunity to work on a story with humorous animals as the main characters.

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

I had been freelancing as an illustrator for a few years before I found my calling in the children's publishing industry, and learned a lot through my own struggles. This wasn't advice that was given to me, but things that I assumed and learned over time.

Best advice: Draw what you love instead of what you think others will love. 
Bad advice: Compare yourself with other artists.

© Neha Rawat

That's really good advice. Thanks! What was one of your favorite quotes or lessons from the SCBWI Summer Conference?  

In the session with LeUyen Pham and Dan Santat, one of the questions asked to them was "What do you wish you knew at the beginning of your career that you know now?" Since I'm at that stage now, I really appreciated this question and even more so, LeUyen Pham's answer to it. She said it's all a confidence game. As an illustrator, I need to believe that the art that I am creating for a book is the best that "I" envision it to be and that I'm not trying to fit someone else's version of what a book is supposed to be. I think this is exactly what I needed to hear right now :)

I'm so glad. I think that's really good to keep in mind for us all. What were some of your favorite books when you were a kid?

The first ever picture book that I remember and loved was Walt Disney's "Dumbo". It came with a read-along audio tape and I just loved the story and illustrations of it (and was thrilled when I came to know there was a movie as well!) Other than that, I was and still am a big Snoopy fan :) We had (have) the full set of Charlie Brown's encyclopedia and though I couldn't understand a lot of what was written as a kid, I spent hours looking at the pictures.

© Neha Rawat

Where can we find you online?

Twitter: @nehrawat



Interview by Meridth McKean Gimbel, a kidlit writer, artist, & champion taco cruncher who is currently building a time machine. They are also represented by Linda Pratt at Wernick & Pratt. You can follow their work at:

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