By Emily Evans-Miller
Here at Mascot, we think it’s high time to recognize the unsung heroes of the publishing community: illustrators and editors. We have an extensive network of freelance professionals who do fantastic work for us and our authors. This month, our featured freelance publishing professional is illustrator Chiara Civati!
Chiara is one of our most-requested artists and has worked with Mascot on thirty-one books so far. Our blog editor, Emily, asked Chiara a few questions to learn more about her illustration process.
How did you begin illustrating books? What made you decide to pursue this as a career?
I’ve always been very interested in this kind of storytelling and visual arts since I was little, so I decided study visual design and illustrations.
How would you describe your art style?
I would describe my art style as colorful and dreamy.
How do you decide what kind of style will work best for the book you’re working on?
I rely a lot on the book content when I illustrate something, especially when there are pretty accurate descriptions. Sometimes authors give me hints and suggestions to help me better understand what they have in mind. Obviously the author wrote the story, and sometimes he or she may have a precise idea of what they would like to see in the book.
I decide what kind of style and technique work best for the book while I read the story and review requests from authors or editors. It also depends a lot on the story’s target audience.
What do you enjoy most about being an illustrator?
I particularly enjoy the process of creating new characters with their own attitudes and feelings. But what I love most is to see the ﬁnal book come to life, printed and ready to be enjoyed. It’s a special thing to have the chance to be able to create the pictures that kids associate to the book’s words.
Do you do any other forms of visual art?
I’m interested in many forms of visual arts, such as graphic design, textile design, drawing, photography…they’re always helpful for my work.
What is your favorite Mascot Books project that you’ve worked on recently? Why?
My favorite Mascot Books projects are series, such as Mimi’s Adventures in Baking, the Alycat series, and the Forgotten Lands series. I love to develop characters in their own worlds who exist across multiple books; it’s like they’re friends. I know how each character would react in every new situation and how they move in the story, because I already “know” them.
What’s your favorite kind of story to illustrate?
Fairy tales or stories with a magical background are my favorite.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on two projects for Mascot Books. One is A Pensacola Night Before Christmas, the third book from a series set in Pensacola, Florida. The other is called Lime Light, which is about a little boy who is looking for his own special talent.
What type of books are you looking to do more of?
I’ve no special requests for future books. I like to change what kind of books I work on so I have the chance to explore each theme. One of the good things about being an illustrator is that it never gets boring!
(Editor’s Note: Chiara’s comments have been edited for clarity)