Illustrator Interview: Sara Palacios

Remember I told you that I had a new blog banner to reveal? Well it has arrived and after hours of working out the kinks to fit it onto the blog, it is finally up! Many thanks go out to the talented, hard working,  Sara Palacios for working with me to create it. I love, love, love it! Don’t you?

This is Sara! (I love her hair!)

And as promised here is the interview with her:

Me: What did you want to be growing up? What were you like as a child?

Sara: Growing up, I wanted to be either a martial arts expert or a professional ballerina.

Me: Yes! Extra points for wanting to be a ballerina! You’re already on my awesome list. Now I’ve got this picture in my head of a ballerina with mad Kung-fu Panda skills.

Sara: I love illustration but if I could do more than one thing professionally I would already be kicking and dancing on my toes.  I was a very quiet and shy girl, but secretly always wished I was more like my cousins and brother, outgoing and fun!

Me: How did you get started as an illustrator? Did you always know you would be an artist or did it happen gradually over time? Did you always like to draw?

Sara: I always liked to draw, but I never thought that it could become a profession. I only knew I wanted to be an illustrator when I was in college studying Graphic Design.   I was truly blessed because I started working with an illustrator when I was still studying graphic design; I was getting paid to learn!!  And that´s when I realized where my true calling was.

Me: That’s fantastic! It is so rare when opportunities like that come. We have to sieze them when they do. Can you describe your workspace? Cluttered? Organized? Office/Studio?

Sara: I work in a small studio. I don´t need to have everything in perfect order all the time, but I don´t like things to be cluttered either, so I try to keep some organized chaos I guess!

Me: That’s me too. MUST. HAVE. ORGANIZED. CHAOS. Or die. LOL. So what are you working on now? Anything special?

Sara: I am illustrating some textbooks for SEP in Mexico (Secretaria de Educación Pública) it is the branch of the government that takes care of the educational  related issues. The government gives these textbooks to all children in school for free, aside of those the school might ask for.So growing up I always have these textbooks that they would give us and now I am illustrating them, which is really cool. Now my nephews and nieces have these books and I get to see my work in them.

Me: That is great…I love it when things comes full circle! Are there any artists or illustrators (past or present, famous or not) who have influenced your own illustration style?

Sara: I ´m pretty sure it is impossible being a visual artist and not be influenced by somebody else´s images. I think it is actually the best way to improve your own work. You know Picasso said “Bad artists copy. Good artists steal” He was so right!! You have to see in order to learn.

Now, it´s not about copying, it is about making things your own. There will always be artists who are more talented than you, so there´s always something new to learn and somebody to look up to. Every time I stumbled into some illustrator whose work I like I realize how much harder I still need to push myself. I couldn´t name all the amazing artists that have influenced my work because there are so many. It’s a constant challenge and learning process.

Me: If you could sit down and chat with any artist in all the world (past or present), who would it be? What would you ask them?

Sara: I think I would have liked to meet Gustav Klimt and Michelangelo, but I probably wouldn´t dare ask anything to them since I´ve read they were not exactly friendly people!  As for contemporary artists, Rebecca D’autremer I would like to ask her how she works.

Me: Okay, I’ll be Googling those names tonight. This next one’s fun…we all have a favorite color, what’s yours? Maybe you have more than one?

Sara: I like blue and red! But I like to wear pink.

Me: Oh I love blue! Blue and purple, and…Ah hem, excuse me, I could go on forever with the colors. Moving on. Any advice for young budding illustrators just starting out?

Sara: I know it´s kind of cliché, but don´t ever get discouraged and DON´T beat yourself up. If you don´t believe in your work nobody else will. Draw, draw, draw!

Me: That is so true! Did you read that everyone? BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, OR NOBODY ELSE EVER WILL!

*pauses, grabs sticky pad, writes down wise wise words of wisdom, smacks it on forehead*

Me: In your opinion, what is the most important thing for an artist to remember in order to be successful?

Sara: I think as an artist you have to take your craft very seriously, if you don´t believe your work is worthy, who else will? Get up every day and work hard, same as doctors and teachers and the rest of the world do.   Artists might not save lives dramatically or influence the world economy, yet the world existed  for years without accountants and surgeons but art has been a part of human kind since we´ve been in the planet.

Me: *goes to practice very serious writer look in the mirror down the hall* Okay I think I’ve got that one down. One less thing to worry about.

All authors, publishers, agents, and editors debate over this, but what do you have to say about illustration notes in the text of a picture book? Yes, you love them and feel they are helpful…OR no, they just cloud your creative vision/juices.

Sara: I don’t mind having notes or suggestions, sometimes authors have some specific ideas about what they would like to see in their texts.  I think it is only natural since they created it. They probably already pictured they way their characters look like so I think is good to hear what they have to say and take it into consideration. As an illustrator your job is to translate the text into images and having some notes from the author might help to the success of the work. I think is good to be open to all ideas, you know? As long as the suggestions don´t become some kind of instruction manual it´s all good!

Me: Good to know! Is there anything special you do when you finish a project? Celebrate maybe? Go out dancing? Cross your fingers and hope the publisher loves it? LOL.

Sara: Move on to the next project hehe! Actually no, I don´t do anything special I just keep on working and if there´s a chance I might just take one afternoon off. Maybe I should start doing something special, right?

Me: I’d definitely treat myself to a Zumba class, or at east some chocolate/frozen yogurt/smothie/fruit tart at least. LOL. What were your favorite picture books growing up? Why?

Sara: I don´t really have a favorite picture book that I remember from my childhood. I think I have more picture books now as an adult!! But when I was little, me and my brother loved to read comic strips, our favorite was “Archie” my mom liked them so she always bought them. And I remember my dad reading them to us and doing all the different voices it was really cool!

Me: Super! Is there any piece of artwork (any medium) in any museum, that you wish you yourself had created?

Sara: Either “The kiss” or “The virgin” by Gustav Klimt, both are just so beautiful! I love the colors , the faces , the patterns. I wish those were illustrations by sara palacios LOL

Me: Between the two, I like “The virgin” best. And now I must ask…any favorite munchies you must have on hand while working? OR maybe you have a favorite type of music that helps you focus while working on a project?

Sara: I like to listen to the radio; I sort of need to have noise all the time while I work, but, and this is probably weird I don´t listen to music a lot, or ever actually. I need to have people talking. Sometimes I can have the radio and a video at the same time and I´m not necessarily paying attention to what they say I just like the noise, odd right?   And my latest guilty habit are coconut jelly beans 😉

Me: Thanks so much for letting me interview you Sara! You rock! I’m always looking forward to seeing the next picture book you illustrate

So there you have it, you now know more about Sara! I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did!



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24 responses to “Illustrator Interview: Sara Palacios

  1. I really like the background! Great job!

  2. I’m a fellow lover of Klimt. “The Kiss” is one of my favorites. Love the new banner! Great job Sara!

  3. Anonymous

    That was a fun and sweet interview Angela! Sara. Thank you for sharing a little bit of your life w/all of us! Much success to both of you!!! Blessings!

  4. I love the new banner!!!!
    …and I read the comics (or funny paper, as we called it) when I was growing up too.

  5. Great interview! Thank you both so much! I especially liked hearing your thoughts on art notes or not as I am an author only and always wonder about that. I think it’s important that the illustrator have the freedom to create, but sometimes there is humor or something intended that isn’t written in the text and the story depends on the art showing a certain reaction – so good to know that at least some people don’t mind 🙂

  6. Love the banner! The little ballerina you, Sara?
    Sara, you are a gifted artist :~])
    Angela and Sara, was the banner a collaboration?

    You are go right in believing in ourselves! I’ve seen many creatives (all facets of art) do nothing with their gift. Soooo happy you nuture yours :~])

    • Sara and I worked together on it. I sent Sara my ideas, my vision, asked her if she would like to work on it. She turned it into something grand, absolutely fantastic: a banner with personality and flavor. I love all the cool details, like how worried the little birds look trying to keep order in the chaos, and the frogs next to the ballerina. I adore it! 🙂 So I’m glad you all love it too! I hope Sara reads these comments. She will LOVE that you guys love it!

    • The girl is actually Angela! Though I did some dancing a while ago and I love it, all the elements in the banner are related to Angela. She had a great idea from the beginning I just translated it into an image.

  7. Oh, I love your banner and I love Klimt, too. Good work, Sara!

  8. What a great header. Nice work. And I love reading about how illustrators work and how they got started.

  9. Anonymous

    I love the new banner! the girl is adorable!

  10. Dee

    I love the new banner! The girl is adorable!

  11. Thank you all for your kind words!

  12. Delightful new banner, and it was so interesting to hear from Sara about her process and development as an illustrator.

  13. OMGoodness! Thanks for all the comments everyone!

    Because Sara mentioned a Rebecca D’autremer and I did indeed Google her…boy oh boy, I think I will read all those books she illustrated! Her art is absolutely lovely. Now I want to ask her how she works too! I’m ever so curious now (as if I wasn’t before!) 🙂

  14. Anonymous

    What a terrific job Sara did of your ideas for a banner, she totally captured you all over with the illustrations! I remember those birds! Sara is one vivid illustrator, and you are one creative writer. I love it! It makes me want to read for ever. I love your blog, keep writing! THANK YOU BOTH!

  15. Beautiful new banner– congratulations Sara & Angela! Also, thanks for introducing me to “delenda”– what an extremely useful & satisfying word!

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