By Emily Evans-Miller
Freelancers are the backbone of the publishing world. We have an extensive network of freelance professionals who do fantastic work for our authors. This month, our featured freelance publishing professional is illustrator Vanessa Alexandre.
How did you get in to illustrating books? What made you decide to pursue this career?
I believe that from a very young age I had already decided to become an illustrator. My mother told me they had to stick a cardboard on the walls around my crib because I liked to draw on whatever was around me. It was very natural for me to become an illustrator, because I’ve always longed for this.
As an adult, I illustrated my first book and, since then, I have been working in the publishing market with children’s books.
How would you describe your art style?
I work in a mix of acrylic painting and digital art. My focus is always in the details of the illustration, and I like to use vivid colours and expressions in the images.
How do you decide what kind of style will work best for the book you’re working on?
I try to pay close attention to the details of the story. Each description from the author is very important to the process of creation and guides me in the style to follow. The most important thing for me is the feeling that each book is unique, so I try to do my best to make every illustration important during the process.
How long do test sketches usually take you?
Usually a whole day, or a day and a half. It depends on the degree of complexity and detail that I want to add to the test.
What do you enjoy most about being an illustrator?
The sensation of creating different worlds, the freedom, and the satisfaction that I have in every new book.
Do you do any other forms of visual art? (Graphic design, painting, photography, etc.)
Yes, I participated in the World Cup “Cow Parade” exhibition last time the Cup was in Brazil. I really enjoyed painting one of the cow sculptures on the streets for the “Football Parade.” In the future, I have plans to learn more about jewelry design as well.
How much do you rely on the book’s content to help guide your illustration?
Fully. Obviously, I try to give my point of view to each page, but I trust what the author describes because it is the first impression I have of the book! Thus, I try to show my vision of the story, while not losing the focus of the author’s initial description.
How many books have you worked on? (Either with Mascot or in total)
In total, I really have no idea because I also work with the creation of many school books and children’s magazines. At Mascot, I have 26 books completed or in the process of being illustrated.
What is your favorite Mascot Books project that you’ve worked on recently? Why?
Every book is meaningful to me, really. But there are three very special projects. The first one is Mommy Breastfeeds Me because it was my first book with Mascot. The second is What Do Monsters Eat?, which I loved to illustrate! And, at the moment, I am thrilled to illustrate You Can’t Stop Sophie Now!, which has a special and important meaning.
What’s your favorite kind of story to illustrate?
Animal stories, and fairies and fantastic stories in general.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment I’m working on a few projects with Mascot, like the book The Tripsies. At the same time, I am finalizing my most recent book (I’m illustrating and writing it!), called Wajãpi, which is the name of an Indian tribe.
What are you looking to do more of?
A little of everything. I don’t seek a specific theme to illustrate, but I like fantastic stories or stories that are inspired by real children.
Vanessa Alexandre is an illustrator, currently residing in São Paulo, Brazil. She hopes to eventually visit schools to talk about each of the books in which she works. Vanessa has been part of the Mascot Books freelancing team since 2016 and she loves it!
Find out more at vanessaalexandre.com.br