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Advice For Young Illustrators: Three Questions With Children’s Book Illustrator Ana Aranda

I met the delightful Ana Aranda through the SCBWI Illustration Mentorship program, when she was selected for the program in 2014. I love Ana’s positive outlook, enthusiasm and good humor….and I especially love her ART! Ana was born and raised in Mexico City, she currently lives in San Francisco. You can find her work in picture books, art exhibitions and murals in the US and abroad. Ana’s biggest inspirations are her childhood memories, the vibrant colors of Mexico, and music. You can find Ana at her websiteTwitterInstagramFacebook and her blog.

The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra was written by Marc Tyler Nobleman, illustrated by Ana Aranda, published by Nancy Paulsen Books in March 2017. 

SYNOPSIS: “Like most goats, Jayna, Bumsie, and Pep’s greatest fear is being eaten for dinner by the legendary chupacabra—it’s common knowledge that goats are a chupacabra’s favorite food! One night, tired of living in fear, the impetuous goats whip out their trusty candelabra and head off to find the beast and scare it away before it can find them. Little do they know that candelabras are the chupacabra’s third-favorite food . . . and he isn’t about to stop there. This chupacabra has quite the appetite, and the goats are in for a big surprise!”

Thanks to Ana Aranda for answering THREE QUESTIONS for me today:

Q. Could you please take a photo of something in your office and tell us the story behind it?

This is a Kamishibai that I found in a bookstore in France a few years ago. I have always loved the format and the story behind it, in which theatre and picture books intersect in this beautiful work of storytelling art. I also have it as a reminder to think about the different ways in which you can experiment on the book as an object. The image is from the book “Il Faudra” , written by Thierry Lenain and illustrated by Olivier Tallec ( Éditions Callicéphale, 2007).

Q. What advice do you have for young illustrators?

My advice for young illustrators would be to play and have as much fun as you can with your art! Experiment, search outside your comfort zone and most of all have a big smile every day because you are creating! I also recommend to look for inspiration everywhere: museums, libraries, films, nature, etc. Make it part of your day/week to look for one thing that inspires you and feed that curiosity constantly.

Q. What are you excited about right now?

I am very excited about this year’s release of the first picture book that I have illustrated in the U.S. “The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra” written by the incomparable Marc Tyler Nobleman! This book has been very fun to create because it talks about a monster that I have heard of all of my life, the Chupacabra, and I feel very honored to have illustrated this very fun and colorful story! I am also very excited about many more projects that I’ve been dreaming to work on for a long time which are now a reality. One of these is my first author/illustrator picture book about the Day of the Dead celebration which will be published by Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books in 2019!

For more insights from book creators, see my Inkygirl Interview Archives and Advice For Young Writers And Illustrators From Book Creators.