I was very lucky to meet the author and illustrator of I WANT A MONSTER, Elise Gravel. Elise is very funny and loves all the monsters in her baby monster book. She is the perfect person to adopt many monster babies. I think you will enjoy reading her answers to my questions:
Nancy Bo Flood: What kind of baby monster would you like to bring home?
Elise Gravel: Any kind! I want to adopt them all. I think I have a special affinity with the funny, silly kind, though. But really, give me any monster and I’ll take good care of them, I promise!
NBF: Why did you begin drawing pictures of monsters?
NBF: When did you begin drawing and what did you like to draw? Did you ever get in trouble for drawing?
EG: I liked to draw as soon as I could get my hands on a crayon. I remember being very popular in kindergarten because I drew princesses with spiral hair, and that was a new thing in my class. After that, I remember drawing superheroes with big muscles, and also snakes with very detailed scales. I got in trouble for drawing in high school because I was playing this fun game where you draw a panel for a comic strip, and then you pass it to a friend and they continue it and then pass it to another friend. It was hilarious, but then we laughed too hard and the teacher caught us.
NBF: How did you do monster research?
EG: I didn’t! I’m a natural expert, meaning all the information about monsters was stored in my brain when I was just a baby. I don’t know how it happened. Maybe I’m from another planet and I was sent on Earth to teach human kids about this very interesting species?
From Elise’s website – she gives this advice to kids who want to become an illustrator:
Draw all the time! Drawing anything and everything. Look at your favourite books and try to copy the drawings that you see. There’s nothing wrong with copying, it’s really a good way to learn! You can even trace the drawings if you want to: it helps to understand how to draw lines and how to create shapes. The most famous painters, when they were starting out, learned by coping their idols. Don’t worry, one day, you’ll develop your own style.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! This is my MOST IMPORTANT piece of advice. Accept that you won’t be perfect from the beginning. Do you think your drawing is ugly? Take a deep breath. Try to see how you can improve, then restart. And restart again.
Always keep in mind that even the best artists are sometimes unhappy with their work. It’s normal. It doesn’t mean that you’re untalented, or that you’re not good at drawing. It just means that you want to get better, and that’s a good thing!
I often create drawings that I find ugly. Sometimes, I say to myself, “I’ll never get it. It never turns out how I want.” But I restart again and again, and at some point, I’m happy with my work. We learn all our lives!
I read somewhere that the key to success isn’t talent, but the number of hours we spend practicing. So you need to really, really practice. There’s no magic to this job! All the illustrators that I know are people who love to draw and who do it as much as possible. It’s as simple as that. So let’s go, get out your crayons!
Find a ReaderKidZ review of I Want a Monster HERE.