Illustrator Spotlight: Polina Poluektova


© Polina Poluektova

We are excited to feature illustrator Polina Poluektova and her Kidlit411 banner design. She placed honorable mention in our recent Kidlit411 banner contest

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

Hello! My name is Polina. I am a freelance illustrator and a watercolour artist with a passion for storytelling. I have loved drawing since early childhood. My first push towards artistically expressing myself came after a visit to the circus for the first time at the age of about 3. I was so amazed, that as soon as I got home, I tried to scribble on paper everything I saw.

© Polina Poluektova

During my school years, I spent hours making comics with my friends and attended after-school art courses. At home, my Grandmother always read various children’s books to me, while I was drawing away, listening to her. Some of our favourites were books by Astrid Lindgren, the Moomins stories, various folk and fairy-tales and other classics. These were some of my happiest times - creating art now as an adult brings me back to my childhood, when I would be immersed in imaginary worlds. 

© Polina Poluektova

So my life has always been strongly connected to art and storytelling. But it wasn’t until later in my life that I got a chance to actually pursue professional artistic education and a career.

Congrats on your banner design for Kidlit411! Tell us how you approached the project.

Thank you! Before starting working on this project, I was curious to see how other illustrators interpreted the prompts. Looking through previous contest entries was very inspiring and made me think: “Among all these amazing ideas, what would specifically my voice/interpretation be?”

© Polina Poluektova

For me, the KidLit411 community brings a sense of belonging and connection despite so many of us (authors, illustrators, publishing professionals) being from different parts of the world. Also, many of us are freelancers working from home, but we are still connected - so this is what I wanted to convey through my illustration for the banner contest.

Who or what are your artistic influences?

I have always been inspired by classic illustrations by Beatrix Potter, Arthur Rackham, John Tenniel and many more. However, I also loved modern media such as Disney animated movies, comics and manga (especially the “magical girl” genre). I believe in the end, my style became strongly influenced by both classic and modern illustration and became what it is now: modern watercolor illustrations with a bit of a nostalgic feel to them.

What is your preferred medium/ illustration process?

I always refer to myself as a watercolour artist, but I do use digital tools as well!

Recently, I’ve been making the majority of my sketches and colour roughs digitally using Procreate on an iPad. It saves so much time and gives so much freedom to edit.

Not that long ago, I have also discovered another time-saving hack: my printer is able to print dim line art on watercolour paper. This way, I don’t need to transfer line art onto the paper by hand and can dive right into painting straight away. However, when I do have the time, I still enjoy going through the whole process the traditional way - sketching, transferring line art and then painting, all by hand.

That's a great tip! What projects are you working on now?

© Polina Poluektova

© Polina Poluektova

Currently, I am actually working on expanding my portfolio beyond picture/children’s books. I am curious about exploring other areas of illustration, which I wasn’t really focusing on as all my attention was almost exclusively on children’s book illustration. Last year I got interested in licensing, since I thought my style might be a good fit. I would love to create designs for postcards, patterns, fabric, etc.

What is one thing most people don't know about you?

Even though I have always been into drawing, I wasn’t sure about which career path to take. I have loved picture books and enjoyed traditional painting since childhood, so at first it was just an abstract “I want to be an artist” idea. In my teens it evolved into “I want to be a comic artist.” But for the longest time I had a strong desire to become an animator and was known around for being “the girl who draws cartoons” (meaning mostly “cartoon characters,” although I did do some very simple animations!)

© Polina Poluektova

It wasn't until roughly my early 20s when I realised that children’s book illustration and illustration in general could be a career option. It was a much better and more realistic fit for me.

Funny enough, even several years after completing my degree in Illustration, I still have some people asking me:“So when are we going to see your cartoons on TV?” :)

Where can people find you online?

My portfolio website:



© Polina Poluektova

Polina is a Switzerland-based freelance illustrator who enjoys creating whimsical art and expressive characters. After a long journey of experimenting with various media, she now specializes in watercolour, as well as uses digital tools for sketching and editing her illustrations.

Since early childhood, she loved art and enjoyed creating imaginary worlds. Her main sources of inspiration were classic fairy tales, folklore and the natural world around her. She received her dream degree in the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, USA, where she majored in Illustration. Aside from art, she finds great joy in taking forest walks, bird-watching, reading and drinking tea. She is also a member of the SCBWI and a local kidlit community.




  1. I love the colors you use. Beautiful illustrations. I lived in Switzerland in 8th grade. It was so amazing. We had the kindest older couple who lived next to us. They shared a unique Swiss dinner with us, and we shared an American dish with them. Congrats on your wonderful work. Best wishes in 2022!

  2. Love your style! Good luck branching out into new forms, but I hope you'll always illustrate picture books!!


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