Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Interview with Illustrator Claire Sedovic

Today we welcome illustrator Claire Sedovic. She is the amazing artist who brought the Odd Animal ABC's to life.  Thank you for joining us today. So, inquiring minds want to know...

How did you become the illustrator for Odd Animal ABC’s?

After quitting my job as a graphic designer for a major media company last spring, I began sending postcards featuring my art to potential publishers. Blue Manatee Press was one such publisher whose work I admired, so of course they received a postcard from me. A couple of months later I heard from Amy Dean (Editorial & Marketing Director at Blue Manatee Press) that she was looking for an illustrator for a manuscript she had just acquired and wanted to know if I would like to submit my work for consideration. Of course I said yes, and almost exactly a year later, Odd Animal ABC’s was published featuring my art!

I feel very lucky that Blue Manatee had that postcard! Have you always wanted to illustrate?

Indeed I have. As a child I often wrote and illustrated sequels to my favorite picture books or crafted my own original stories complete with detailed illustrations in marker or paint.

Can you describe your process of taking this story text and developing it. 

I must say I feel very fortunate that you and I were able to correspond as often as we did while I developed the illustrations for the text as I realize now that is not typical of the author/illustrator relationship. I think our collaboration succeeded because I was receptive to the illustration notes you offered, and you were willing to change the text in some instances that I interpreted it a little differently with my illustrations than you expected. As an illustrator, I see my role as someone who can visually fill the gaps in the story. And because this story text is all dialogue (and a lot of humor!) I felt like I had a lot of room to play. 

I started the process by reading the text over and over to get a good feel for the story. I then created thumbnail sketches to determine the flow and layout of the book. Once those sketches were approved I proceeded with the full scale art, but even then, I continued to make adjustments as the story evolved and I received feedback from you and Amy.

I've told lots of people how you helped shape this into a better book. Without some of your requests due to art, I wouldn't have my two favorite jokes in there! 

So there are 53 real animals (and one imaginary unicorn) in this book. Was the large cast of characters a problem?

I wouldn’t say the large cast was a problem, but it was certainly a challenge. I loved researching the different animals to ensure that I drew them accurately, but it took some time to figure out when and were certain animals should reappear in order to drive the narrative along. In some cases, this was already written into the text, but throughout the illustration process I took some liberties to add or omit for visual appeal and to help integrate the ABC letters into the illustrations.

I love the coloring of the letters themselves too. So what do you hope readers take away from this story?

I hope that the book widens kids’ understanding of just how diverse the animal kingdom really is. Of course I hope they laugh along with all the wonderful, and often weird critters as they travel from A to Z, but on a deeper level, I also hope that it sparks new curiosity about the natural world and a desire preserve and protect it for future generations.

That was my hope too. Now, a very important question,
 what is your favorite chocolate or dessert?

How about chocolate dessert?

Where else can readers find you and your art?

You can find more of my work on my website (clairesedovic.com) and follow me on Instagram @clairesedovic.

Wish you were on Twitter more. You are missing some major book love!  Thank you so much for giving life to these odd and amazing animals and for joining us on the blog. Best wishes that your illustrating career is long, prosperous, and full of happy readers!!

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