I just finished “Dog Without a Shadow” and was particularly taken with the artwork. What attracted you to art in the first place?
I’d like to say that I was drawn to expressing myself when I could not make up the words to come out of me. I was painfully shy and often I can picture in my head what I want or thought but I can’t explain it well. So really I draw so I can have my voice heard.
How did that lead to illustrating a book like this one?
In middle school, I felt it was my time to get out and adventure things, but I was still limited in what I could do or find out. I spent a lot of time in the library, and I found couple of unique comic books and I had already known I enjoyed writing stories and I enjoyed drawing, but I decided I suddenly found my way to do both. I had known about comic books all my life but I had never seen one bigger than the Sunday newspaper comics until middle school.
How would you describe your style?
I am still finding my own style but I grew up loving beautiful elegant works and designs. I also had a cartoony humor and that translated to my art very clearly. I feel my style will never stop evolving because I am always learning something new. I have simplified realism in my works, and an air of pure fantasy.
Did you have any mentors or role models who spurred you in this direction?
I actually have lots, and I know one person who started it all, my Mom. She gave me a book of Fairy Paintings by Amy Brown and I still have it with some pages falling out from looking at it day after day. I carried it to school, I kept it under my teenage pillow, and I learned from it. Amy Brown became a major model for my art. It followed with some music muses like Avril Lavigne and Amy Lee, and more artistic heroes like Stan Lee, J. Scott Campbell, and Rumiko Takahashi. Those are actually the people I have on my list that I dream to meet with one day.
I was intrigued by your use of color in the book. Is that part of your style or was it specific to the story?
That was a bit of both I like vibrant bold colors and I also know Amadogus himself is a big black dog, I felt having the brighter colors would help the audience draw their attention towards him as well as I hoped it would help lead a flow of direction to the pages.
Do you see the pictures in your head before you draw them or do they come to you as you work?
I most of the time see them in my mind before I draw them. I have woken up at 3am with an image and I could not go to sleep until it was on paper. There are those special cases where I have an idea but I don’t know how to execute it so those come as I work but it is very seldom they do.
Have you ever wanted to branch out and do other types of art?
All the time, I actually have a lot of hobbies between making costumes, I want to learn cosmetology, special effects make up, Air brushing, and water transfer. I can go on and on with the different things I’d like to do. I can watch a video and say, “that looks like so much fun.” And I will add it to my list.
I hear talk about a children’s museum. Can you shed some light on that for me?
Angel and I are planning on taking some of my original work for ‘The Dog without a Shadow’ and possibly more to put on display at a children’s museum. There were lots of drawings I illustrated for this book and a couple of them never made it to the story so I had hoped, because one of them was my favorite, that I can still show it to kids and they enjoy it as well.
Is this the only children’s book you have illustrated or are there others?
‘The Dog without a Shadow’ was my first, but we have also started using other works of mine in other children’s books like ‘Ikto’s Umbrella’. That is a new one Angel wrote and it just became available for children.
What can we expect from you and Cheshire Grin in the future?
We have two other children’s books besides ‘The Dog without a Shadow’, one is called Ikto’s Umbrella and the other is ‘Adelise’. I also have started a couple of novellas, I will have illustrations in those as well, and you will see more on those the closer they are to being complete. I have worked on one for almost ten years I am really excited to finally get it to the point where everyone can read it.
Your dedication to your work certainly is evident in its fine quality. Thank you for being on the blog and I wish you the best of success in the future.