Illustrator Spotlight: Carina Povarchik

© Carina Povarchik

Nov. 1, 2018

On the first day of each month, we feature an illustrator who won or placed in our Kidlit411 banner contest, and we switch our website banner and Facebook page cover image. Today we present Carina Povarchik and her work.  

Tell us about yourself and how you came to illustrate for children.

Hi!! I’m from Argentina. I live in a lovely town where wine is made. I wish it was chocolate hahaha. Anyway, wine from here is famous all over the world (Mendoza’s wines). When I was a little girl, I wasn’t drawing all the time. I was crafting stuff, including drawings. Home was filled with tools (still is, to be honest). I made half my toys myself, the other half were made by my dad, and just a few were bought. When I got to the age of choosing a career, I chose science and computers. Quite a surprise huh? Well I loved it. I loved math, computers. I’ve always loved ideas. And I learned how to create programs, so, again I was creating. I had been working on computers and teaching about them at university since then.

© Carina Povarchik

About 10 years ago, I started drawing digital on my own. I got a small lovely drawing tablet as a surprise gift from my dad. Amazing gift. I got hooked at the time doing a very personal style of illustrations and posting them on some POD websites. Was still a hobby for me. Then, my job situation changed. I was lucky to keep a job, but it wasn’t at all what I was doing. Life can be funny when you are able to look back and connect the dots of your life events. If my job as it was didn’t end at the time, probably I wouldn’t be here as an illustrator. 

© Carina Povarchik

At some point, I felt stuck, visually speaking, I wasn’t able to illustrate what I wanted or approach images differently. So, I decided to start educating myself in arts in a more professional way.  I entered the local school of Visual Arts and did the interesting part there for me, one year and half. I also started crafting handmade journals, and went to sell them in a local crafts fair for about 4 years. I mention that, because my current style has a lot to do with that. It was born somehow in those hundreds of journals that I painted with acrylics and Indian ink.
© Carina Povarchik

To the date, I have taken many fantastic online courses, and I’ve done three years of Portraiture Drawing lessons with a local art teacher. And I have devoted myself into improving, learning towards becoming an illustrator, wanting to do my career and lifestyle from this.

Now that’s how I got into illustration. But illustration of picture books? Thanks to Twitter and its fun events like #colour_collective, I got a lovely literary agent (Essie White, from Storm Literary Agency) and I got my first book deals. It has been dreamy since then. It’s an amazing community to be involved in. I simply love it.

Congrats on your banner for Kidlit411! How did you approach this project?

© Carina Povarchik

Thank you! It was so much fun! Well, I kept myself in the bird’s proposal that Kidlit411 had in their banner already. Then I just imagined them as birds usually are, sleeping in the wire next to each other. And then, of course my mind had to picture a poor worm in trouble haha. In a more technical way, I worked digital as my usual for children’s illustrations, and I tried to keep in mind the color palette that could go ok with Kidlit411.

But, most of all, I had fun doing it!

Tell us about your published children's books and other illustration projects.

I have illustrated 2 books so far, and I’m currently working on a third one.

The first one was a poetry book for kids SHIMMER - SONGS OF THE NIGHT by the award winning author Raven Howell (released October 2017) and published by Clear Fork Publishing. It’s around the night theme, and all the wonders that you find there, especially for giving kids a different view of the night, that takes away the scare of it and replaces it with wonder and magic. 

The second one was a picture book, MY BIGGER THAN AN ELEPHANT SECRET written by Kelly Johnstone, released April 2018 and published by Clear Fork Publishing. It’s all about having a huge secret and sharing it or not, it was a fun project.

Whimsical happy books, I’ve loved working on them both! And besides that, I’m always working on personal projects, for fun, for improvement, and of course, any commissions I may have at the moment.

What projects are you working on now?

Currently I’m working on the sequel and sister to SHIMMER, by the award winning author Raven Howell, and it’s called GLIMMER, SING OF SUN! To be released summer 2019. Now we are focused on the day, the sun, instead of the night as in Shimmer. I love the process, even if it can be a long one, but seeing the illustrations of a book unfold before your eyes and mind, see it coming alive, coming together, is an amazing process to watch. Even if being the illustrator means re doing and re sketching tons of it, but in the end you see the book coming alive in your own eyes before anyone else I guess. That’s pure magic for me.

© Carina Povarchik

Walk us through your illustration process.

I have two main ways of working for children’s illustration. One is drawing first, and it usually requires some sketching and studying the subject that I want to draw, then I will start off with a main sketch, and polish it until I have what I want, and then start the coloring final part. I think that’s the most usual way of illustrating. You can see an example of my drawing prior to color part, in the plane’s video process below.

The other way is, I’d say, the opposite and was born from technical limitations when doing my handmade journals. I would simply think of what I want and simply start painting its colors down. When I finish painting the colors, I will add the final ink line to the drawing. This usually goes with very few sketching if I’m doing it for fun. And you can see that, on the small process video of the boy with a black cat upon his head.

When working on a picture book from other authors, they have always required my gawky style so far, but in these cases, I work a lot sketching out lots of ideas first, reading their manuscript tons of times, and keeping the communication flowing between the art director, editorial, author and my ideas. Understanding the core of each phrase is of crucial importance. To be able to put that visually requires a process for me, of many goes and comes. But even if this way of panting first and drawing upon it later is more spontaneous, I know that planning a lot here is crucial. I always end up with way better illustrations when lots of planning and failing goes prior to the final illustration for each spread of the book.

I work mostly digitally, so, sketching and final pieces are all in the same place. I love doing some traditional artwork once in a while, like painting watercolors, or doing collage, or painting an acrylics landscape. It keeps my creativity flowing and feeding itself.

What advice would you give to aspiring illustrators?

Learn to draw. Take it seriously. Take, if possible, private drawing lessons, whatever you can do and afford, do it. I cannot stress that enough. Learning to draw is key. It will pay off.

© Carina Povarchik

Have fun. Join Twitter events, learn from others, draw for fun every day, keep learning, follow outstanding artists, take online courses, and go to workshops if you can. Aspire high and work hard. Work hard, but always having fun. Is a long path, with tons of hard work, frustration and joy mixed in as well, long but oh so rewarding! 

© Carina Povarchik

What is something most people don't know about you?

I’d been to India twice. Amazing trips, very close to my heart. Traveling is so nurturing to the soul and mind. It opens your mind and your heart. You grow your inner empathy for different people, different religions, and different ways of living the life. You learn, you grow. Traveling is indeed, amazing. And I’d been lucky enough in this life to be able to do some pretty amazing trips.

© Carina Povarchik

Where can people find you online?

I would say the main places are Instagram, Twitter and my personal websiteOf course you’ll find me on many more (Facebook, Behance, S6)  

Published books: Shimmer – Songs of NightMy Bigger than an Elephant Secret

Children’s illustrator Carina Povarchik (signs her works as Catru) from Argentina. Her main focuses are whimsical children’s illustrations and portraiture. Published books Shimmer – Songs of Night by Raven Howell and My Bigger than an Elephant Secret by Kelly Johnstone. She is currently working on a third book, the sequel and sister to Shimmer – Songs of Night, called Glimmer, Sing of Sun! To be published somewhere in summer 2019. Loves chocolate, running, birds and happy.

© Carina Povarchik


  1. Wonderful interview, Carina! So fresh, and honest and inspiring. I have to tell you, being friends with you, seeing your posts, just lights up my life.Sending love, Marian

    1. aww thank you dear Marian, you are a lighthouse in this world, thank you for all the love and support you are always giving ♥ ♥ ♥

  2. Love your style and insight on illustrating Carina. Best of luck!

  3. So lovely to see one of my Storm teammates here, Carina...I loved your work the first time I saw it! Thank you for sharing some of your journey and your process and I can't wait to see all of the beautiful books you make.

  4. I love your work, Carina. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Carina, you know how I feel about you as a person and Artist, so I am a bit biased, but I loved this interview and getting to know more about you (I already knew about the chocolate, lol)and your illustration process. I think it sounds very cool how you sometimes paint first and then draw lines over it. I am excited to read the next book by you and Raven Howell. I am a sun baby and use its energy to write music always, so this book will have a place of honor right next to Shimmer, Songs of Night, in my recording studio.....where your other joyful prints are.��If you and Raven would like music to go with the poems, you know where to find me. I can only write for those whose work speaks to my�� like yours/Raven’s work does.Talk to you soon. Hugs & Chocolate Chip Cookies������, Annie������


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