Helena has a wonderful artistic style. She is a kindred spirit because of her love of the graphic novel genre for kids. Some of her work is just down right hilarious. I'm sure we'll see her artwork and writing grace the pages of picture books and magazines alike in the near future.
Dani: What do you think is the most important part of you being an illustrator?
Helena: The most important part of being an illustrator is going back to my childhood: whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always answered "artist". This is in my DNA. This is what I was born to do.
Dani: Sleeping in or breakfast in bed?
Helena: SLEEPING IN! I'm still recovering from the sleepless nights of my daughter's infancy and toddlerhood.
Dani: What made you want to take over as head of the Canada West Illustrators?
Helena: I simply fell in love with SCBWI and all that they have to offer. I wanted to be part of the organization, at least at this small level, and to connect with people. I love talking illustration, art and design and meeting like-minded people.
Dani: What are some of the challenges you face in this position?
Helena: Some challenges are finding enough time and energy to do what I'd like to for the group ie. finally set up a gallery show! I would also like to get a Twitter account up for the group, and even have a shared event with the Western Washington group. It comes down to a couple of hours in the evening, and I have to decide: am I going to read through all of my social media? am I going to write? am I going to draw? am I going to crash and burn and watch a movie?
Helena: The SCBWI New York conference is incredible. So much information. So much inspiration. It was my main wake-up call to be more professional. Seeing the work out there, the ones that really stood out had cohesive portfolio books and good-sized art cards that show their illustrations well. Their websites were equally cohesive and organized. WAIT! No... I mean that's all good, but what really surprised me was how much EMOTION plays a part in how your illustration is evaluated. In the Illustrator's Master Class, Arthur A. Levine, of Arthur A. Levine Books, went through 30 illustrations, and for every one, he asked himself: how does this make me feel? The industry folks don't just want a pretty picture, they want to see how the characters interact on the page, how convincingly did you convey a world for these characters.
Dani: What changes would you like to see in either the SCBWI as a whole or the Canada West Illustrators?
|Helena's Tomie Entry|
Dani: If you could choose any written book to illustrate in your own style, which one would it be?
Helena: Watership Down by Richard Adams is my husband's favourite book. I'd love to adapt it to a graphic novel and make it more accessible to the kids that can't digest that much prose.