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Claire studied graphic design and minored in printmaking at Drake University, where she says she “developed an understanding of the interplay between text and imagery.” But by the age of six, she already knew she wanted to be an illustrator.
“Everyday experiences, such as childhood dance classes, working in the garden with my mother, and cooking dinner with my sister, have provided inspiration for the words and pictures that fill my sketchbooks.” — Claire Sedovic on what inspires her
After graduating, Claire started to work more consistently with watercolor, and ultimately left her corporate graphic design job to pursue her dream of becoming a published illustrator.
Odd Animal ABC’s!
One thing that Claire hopes readers get out of Odd Animal ABC’s is understanding how diverse the animal kingdom is. “Of course I hope they laugh along with all the wonderful, and often weird critters as they travel from A to Z,” she says, “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.”
The Artist’s Process!
In her own words, this is Claire’s artistic process:
I work primarily with traditional media: paper, pencil, watercolor, and brush. I begin by lightly sketching my illustrations (and always keep an eraser close by!)
When I am satisfied with the pencil drawing, I fill it in with watercolor. I especially love to add a little more life to my creations with a light touch of the magenta on cheeks, noses, and chins. After the watercolor is dry, I retrace the pencil with a softer lead for added detail and contrast.
Once I’m happy with the finished illustration, I scan it so I have a high-resolution digital file that matches the color of the original work as closely as possible. From here, I take that file into Photoshop, drop out the white paper background, and clean up the edges. Finally, I take the edited illustration and add it as a layer to the storybook spread.
Her Favorite Odd Animal!
With so many fun animals to choose from, we were curious which was Claire’s favorite. “I fell in love with the Tree Kangaroo!” she says. “They look more like cuddly teddy bears than they do kangaroos, and I enjoyed mixing the paint for their reddish fur and pale pink noses.
“The animal that gave me the most difficulty was the leaf-tailed gecko,” she adds. “These amazing amphibians look more like a piece of dried foliage than they do a living animal!”
Advice For Young Artists!
Claire has simple but important advice for children who show an interest in art: Make art, and lots of it! “The old adage of practice makes perfect really is true,” she says. “The more you practice your craft, the more you will improve your skills and build confidence in your own abilities.
“And most importantly, draw what you know, what you love, and what you’re curious about,” she adds. “If you’re not first and foremost making art for yourself, then what’s the point of making it at all? We make time for the things we love, so if you want to keep yourself coming back to the drawing board, make art you are passionate about. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Every doodle, every scratch and scrawl of your pencil is mark closer to becoming the illustrator you wish to be.”
Do you have any young artists in your family? Share their work in the comments below, and make sure to follow us on instagram @bluemanateepress for your daily dose of books, art and inspiration!
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