January 13, 2017
Today we feature the talented illustrator Mikela Prevost Be sure to enter to win a copy of her print below!
Please tell us about yourself and how you came to illustrate for children.
I've always drawn, it's the one ability I've been blessed to have. I've also felt more comfortable around children than adults, so communicating stories to children have just seemed natural. As a writer and illustrator, I am just trying to recreate that wonder that kids see.
You have a fresh and endearing style. Who or what inspires you?
Thank you!! Not surprisingly, kids and their art inspire me! I'll tell you (and the internet) a secret: In my 20's I was a daycare teacher and I would have my students draw constantly. But something mysterious was happening...every once and awhile the kids' drawings wouldn't make it into their cubbies to be taken home. They would magically find their way to my apartment, delicately taped to a wall by my drafting table. But now I have my own kids and thankfully they are pretty messy and just leave their artwork all around the house. They don't ask questions when their drawings go missing.
Tell us about your illustration process (if you have any process images you can share, that would be great).
When I have a project, I'll have a vague idea and do a really fast and ugly sketch, but I've come to love those ugly sketches the most because they contain the most spontaneity. Then I may do a few more, try out different compositions, play with scale. Then I fill a kid IKEA bowl with cereal and eat it dry while staring at my sketches. Once I pick one (and finish my cereal) I refine it; a great trick is to hold it up to a mirror and see if it looks wonky or unbalanced. It's like show and tell with myself!
From that point, I pick some color palettes by thumbing through books I have of old vintage ads. I love the color process techniques of the way-back-when days, how everything is harmony. I then thumb out some color studies with a few different palettes in watercolor. I start the finished sketch on 300lb Arches Hot Press Watercolor paper (you don't have to stretch it!) and then go from there, using watercolor, acrylagouache and whatever else I think the project needs.
What projects are you working on now?
I'm working on my latest version of a picture book I wrote a year ago. I have an agent interested so I'm determined to get it right! But wow, people think writing for kids is easy?! The deeper you dive into the writing process of a picture book, the more complex it is while still trying to retain its simplicity. Once I get this story nailed down, I'll thumb out the storyboard and then dummy.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don't be so anxious to want to succeed, it will come when you are enjoying your work. Ten years earlier, I started working in a style that was insanely meticulous and it sucked out all the joy of doing artwork. But I kept at it because people liked it and I was getting work. It wasn't until two years ago that I completely stopped that style, overhauled my portfolio by started making art that I enjoyed and was excited to do! Now I lay in bed, trying to sleep but an idea will come. I start to wiggle my toes with excitement and there I am, sitting at my desk, one in the morning, drawing silly doodles.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
When I'm alone, I like to look in the mirror and pretend I'm the alien from the Ridley Scott "Alien" movie. I open my mouth as far as I can, swing my head side to side and pretend my hand is the little mouth that comes out of the big mouth.
Where can people find you online?
My portfoilio and blog: www.mikelaprevost.com. On Twitter: @mikelaprevost . On Instagram: @mikelaprevost
I'm an author and illustrator currently residing in Phoenix, Arizona with my 3 kids and wonderful husband. I was born and raised in Southern California and received my BFA from the University of Redlands, and my MFA from California State University of Fullerton. Illustrating for children has been my life-long pursuit and passion. My work is driven by a desire to capture the whimsical innocence and unique perspective from which a child sees the world.
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