New release Babies Come From Airports, written by Erin Dealey and illustrated by Luciana Navarro Powell, is a warm-hearted, colorfully illustrated (and funny!) picture book about the joy of family and the love that binds.
This is the second half of Luciana Navarro Powell's generous, insightful interview. Below she discusses her own history and process as an illustrator, the ways in which she overcomes career hurdles, and what creating children's books means to her. If you missed part one, check that out here now!
What do you think are the biggest hurdles you face as an illustrator of children’s books?
Luciana Navarro Powell: Illustrating children's books was my childhood dream, even before I knew that was actually a possible career, so I don't feel like complaining at all now that I do it to make a living! As with everything in life, though, there are challenges - for example, the uncertain nature of it takes some getting used to -- you have to become good at planning for crazy schedules, like periods of inactivity that can be followed by extremely busy months. It also helps to keep your anxiety in check -- it takes a long time from signing a book contract to see it physically in a store, years sometimes. The secret is to keep busy by working on your portfolio and trying to get new projects.
You mentioned in your bio that you have illustrated for a number of different products. How do you think that variety has impacted the way you illustrate and/or your career path?
LNP: Illustrating for different medias has had a positive cumulative impact on my career path. The style that I used to illustrate puzzles was what got me a project for book apps, for example -- and later also carried over to some of my work for educational publishers. Eventually, the art work for different products all became part of my visual voice, just different “accents” of that same language. I love to go back to different materials and processes that I haven’t used in a while. I’m tinkering with mono-printing now, for instance, and figuring out if I can incorporate the results in future illustration works.
What does creating children’s books mean to you?
LNP: It means a tiny door into those open and fresh little children's minds. To plant a seed of something positive in there, whatever that might be - a creative spark, a different way to view something, a better understanding of an aspect of life, a laugh, a tug in the heart. To cultivate a lifelong love of books.