“Today I’m involved with a Mentorship program for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, various commissions, gallery exhibitions, and my own children’s book project.”
When I was a kid, I loved drawing any chance I got. Throughout high school, I carried a sketchbook around with me wherever I went. I spent all of my free time drawing comics for stories written by me and my friends. My art teachers in high school were very good, but you could only learn so much in 30 minutes, once a week, for only half a semester.
I had my first professional and impactful art education when I went to art school. I saw how much I needed to improve and grow, and this was both inspiring and humbling at the same time. I was shoulder to shoulder with peers who were creating incredible artwork. I experimented with animation, fine art, and finally found my love in book illustration.”
“I’m Alex. I’m a freelance illustrator and children’s book artist. One of my earliest memories as a kid is drawing with my brother, and any time that he would work on a drawing and then not finish it, I would kind of pick up the unfinished strong and kind of get to work on it.
And then eventually as I got older and better at drawing, he and I would draw all the time together. My mom had a book on a Princess Diana. It was about yay-big, which for a little four-year-old kid is the perfect size for a drawing pad. So my brother and I would always grab the book, put our printer paper on it, and then draw cartoon characters all day long.
The eye-opening moment for me was when I was about 12 and I read the Lemony Snicket books illustrated by Brett Helquist, and those illustrations were so remarkable that to me it was that light of, ‘I can do this, I can make book illustrations!’ And that made me start to notice and see all the beautiful illustrations I’ve seen in children books all growing up, and I started to really track that and see this is the kind of career that I want to make for myself. These are the stories that I want to tell.
When I was in art school studying book illustration, I took the summers to work at a summer camp and teaching arts and crafts for them. And it was really in that moment that I realized the second passion line which was teaching people about art, especially teaching the kids about art, because it was so cool to work with them on something that they’ve sometimes never done before.
There was like one camper in particular who was just convinced from the first day in the class that he couldn’t draw, and it was so cool like working with him about like, ‘No, everyone can draw, it just takes practice.’ And by the end it was awesome to see how even in one day, once he was willing to like go forward and challenge himself with that, to see his skill growing from point A to point B in just one day.
Being on the ART PROF team, I’m so excited to combine my love of making art with my love of teaching art, because to me it’s just as beautiful to make art myself as it is to see people for the first time make the art that they’ve always wanted to make.”