This interview series introduces the talented recipients of the SCBWI Mentorship Award at the 2017 Summer Conference. Please welcome Irena Freitas to the KidLitArtists Blog!
About Irena Freitas:
Irena Freitas is an illustrator from Manaus, Brazil. She recently graduated from an MFA Illustration program at SCAD at Savannah, Georgia, but she is already back in her home country. As a kid, she wanted to be a full-time TV critic and an artist on the side, turns out life had other (and much better!) plans and she became a full-time illustrator and only rants about TV on her Twitter feed.
Did the feedback you received during the mentorship critiques either change or confirm the direction of your illustration?
Yes! I love doing picture book illustration, but I'm also interested in the editorial market as well, so most of my mentors suggested me to have separate sections on my portfolio for these two markets, and this is something that I'm currently working on.
What kind of projects are you working on now?
I'm mostly working on new pieces for my portfolio, but I'm also taking editorial jobs and sending my portfolio to art directors in publishing houses.
Is there any type of illustration (or other work) that you’re hoping for in the near future?
Hopefully, a picture book that I could illustrate!
Is there one really helpful piece of advice that you’ve gotten since pursuing illustration? Any one piece of bad advice?
Don't do work just to please the market, illustration is naturally a commercial art form but still need to ring true to you.
I don't really believe in bad advice, you learn something about yourself or the client you are working with even on your worse interactions (maybe especially on those).
What was one of your favorite quotes or lessons from the SCBWI Summer Conference?
I'm HORRIBLE at taking notes and quoting people! But the overall lesson that I learned is: people are different and it's impossible to please everyone, maybe one rejection can be a glowing approval in the future.
What were some of your favorite books when you were a kid?
Surprisingly I was not very much into picture books as a kid, I really loved Little Women, Matilda, big chapter books with selected folk tales, The Secret Garden and travel books in general.
Where can we learn more about you and your artwork?
My portfolio: irenafreitas.com
My instagram: @irenafreitas
And my twitter (mostly in Portuguese): @irenafreitas
Thanks, Irena! Welcome to KidLitArtists!