She specializes in children’s illustration in Sarmede,Itália na Fondazione Mostra Internazionale di Illustrazione per l’Infanzia Stepan Zavrel and working in children’s publishing for the past 5 years and has illustrated 14 children’s books published by publishers: Paulus, Cortez, Nova Alexandria, Conhecimento and Mazza in Brazil, Sunday School Publishing the United States, as well as book covers and posters.
She is part of SCBWI – Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She uses several techniques: acrylic, pencil and watercolour.
Here is Veruschka discussing her process:
Grimm Tales – First create sketches in my notebooks. But when I decide what the best composition, drawing on paper watercolor. And paint in layers with acrylic paint.
In Sleeping Beauty, I used shades of brown to base aiming to create a sense of reality, even if the image resembles a dream. Besides the concept of the collection have a traditional base of the old fairy tales.
Depending on the book proposal, what I call the “tone” of the book, I seek the effect that translates better visually the story, whether it is traditional, funny, serious, light, …
Then choose the base color.
In the case of Karim, I drew everything very detailed and used shades of blue in the early history to define the moment of dream. Then in sequence, when she wakes up, All the colors are yellowed and earth tones. I like to play with colors … lol
After are layers and layers of paint with a thin thickness to achieve the delicacy necessary to image. Finally the finishing details like embroidery dress, the stars, …
But this depends on the book’s concept. I have worked in a Brazilian Indian legend and used the paint without water to create a rough effect.
In another story I glued lace, buttons, small details because the book talks about a very gifted grandmother.
Some Book Covers
Another Book Cover
How long have you been illustrating?
I’m children’s books illustrator to six years.
Have you always lived in Brazil?
Yes, in the northeast of Brazil. In a city of beautiful beaches called João Pessoa in Paraiba.
What was the first thing you painted where someone paid you for your work?
To 15 years old. A drawing for a teacher in my school … lol
Professionally … it is difficult to identify why from that moment, I painted pictures, fabrics, illustrations,…
Did you go to school for art? If so where and why did you pick that school?
Study art since 10 years old. The specialization in children’s illustration was an old dream that was realized in 2011.
I studied at the International School of Illustration S. Zavrel in Sarmede, Italy. An amazing institution that exists in the mountains near Venice. When looking for a course in the area, talked to some illustrators and one of them, André Neves, showed me this wonderful course.
What did you study there?
painting techniques Watercolor, Acrilic, collages, character, storyboard, how to narrate the story for an illustrated book, telling stories with pictures,
My gorgeous teachers in the school: AnnaLaura Cantone, Giovanni Manna and Svjetlan Junakovic.
Do you feel College helped develop your style?
Yes, especially my painting technique. My vision of shapes and spaces on the visual narrative.
What type of work did you do after you got out of school?
I began working exclusively with illustration in 2010, and in 2011 went to school in Sarmede. When I returned I continued my work, but with a different, more professional view.
Did art school help you get work when you graduated?
The school of Sarmede helped me a lot … besides the very journey that gave me wonderful life experiences.
Are there a lot of other SCBWI members in Brazil? Do they have conferences where you can meet other members?
The SCBWI is in the initial stage in Brazil.
None conference with members. But we have contact through social networks.
When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?
Still a girl, my grandfather had a book of Brazilian legends in your home. I was enchanted with its illustrations and I wished to paint books.
A long time later, I studied in various art courses in foundations, museums and university.
I was an art teacher for children and teacher of painting for adults … but the dream was coming and going in my mind.
What was your first book you illustrated?
In 2007 a writer friend, Maria Valeria Resende, asked me to illustrate her children’s book “The duck problem” (original title: O problema do pato).
I did the illustrations with much joy, and it was published by the publishing house Planeta Jovem.
How did you get contracts?
When I decided to work as a professional with illustration in 2010, I sent portfolios for various publishers in Brazil and one of them called me to illustrate the book “Princess, bird and wisdom” (original title: A princesa, o pássaro e a sabedoria), author Alexandre Carvalho, by the Publishing House Paulus. This book in 2011 was chosen for the Brazilian catalog at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and the library Internationale Jugendbibliothek (IJB) in Germany. It was an immense door open in the publishing market.
Did you do other types of illustrating before you got that book contract?
How many picture books have you illustrated?
16 pictures books for childrens, 5 juvenile books,
Have you ever tried to do a wordless picture book?
Yes, in 2014 I created a wordless picture book:
“The Dream of Karim” (original title: O sonho de karim) which was indicated to the biggest literary award in Brazil, the Jabuti Prize for Literature (Prêmio Jabuti de Literatura) in the category Children’s Book Illustration. This event gave me wings to create more stories. And I already have some notebooks filled with ideas.
In 2015 I created the book “The Garden of the Our Lady” (original title: O Jardim da Senhora do Céu). A coloring book that was published by the Publishing House Santuário and this year will be published by the Publishing House Pauline Books of the United States.
What book do you think was your biggest success?
The Dream of Karim because besides being a dream come true,my story published, the award indication was wonderful for other future projects.
Do you have an artist rep.?
Not at the present time.
Do you illustrate full time?
Yes, this is my only work.
Do you have a favorite medium you use?
acrylic paints on watercolor paper.
Do you take research pictures before you start a project?
Yes, all my work is based on photographic and / or historical research, depending on the book. For example in the book “Grimm Tales” the research was based on the time when the Grimm brothers lived. Clothing, fauna, flora, local architecture of cities around the Black Forest of Germany. In the book “The Dream of Karim” I have researched Moroccan cities to create a fictional city. Their colors, fabrics, mosaics, crafts, and all the elements mentioned above.
Have you worked with any educational publishers?
Yes, I working with Mondo Publishing, QBS Learning, United Methodist Publishing House-Children’s Church and Seed Media Inc.
Do you use Photoshop with any of your work?
Yes, for to finish the illustrations.
Do you have and use a graphic tablet?
Do you do exhibits to show off your art?
Yes, literary illustration shows.
Would you be willing to work with an author who wants to self-publish a picture book?
Yes, I have worked with some authors.
Has any of your work appeared in magazines?
No, but in fairs catalogs and newspaper publications.
Do you studio a studio in your house?
Yes, my studio is in my house.
Is there anything in your studio you couldn’t live without?
lol …. my brushes, pencils, paints, papers, everything.
Do you follow any type of routine to attain your career goals?
Delivery within the time and a lot of communication with my editor.
Any exciting projects on the horizon?
Continuity Collection Tales and Legends for the Publishing House Paulus that includes the Fables of Aesop and La Fontaine, Pinocchio, Tales of Latin America,my new coloring book and The Little Prince.
Do you think the Internet has opened any doors for you?
Totally .Saõ Paulo is the center of the publishing market in Brazil, I live in a very distant region. The internet has opened up numerous possibilities and still open.
What are your career goals?
Publish my stories as author and illustrator in and out of Brazil.
What are you working on now?
The book The Little Prince of Exupery.
And my coloring book that will be released in August in São Paulo Biennial: God’s Gift (original title: Dádiva) created from the “Sermon on the Mount.”
Are there any painting tips (materials, paper, etc.) you can share that work well for you? Technique tips?
I use acrylic paint to be highly versatile for those who paints freehand. Its consistency can vary widely thus work with papers for painting in acrylic as watercolor.
Any words of wisdom you can share with the illustrators who are trying to develop their career?
Dream, dream a lot and go after that dream specializing in the area, always maintaining contact with publishers.
The bond of trust between an illustrator and his publisher are, for me, essential and created from a solid foundation:
-Commitment-marked with dates, because if the illustrator delay, delays a whole group of professionals;
– Fidelity, to who I am as a professional and lightness as this, for me, is the best job in the world!
Thank you Veruschka for sharing your talent, process, journey, and expertise with us. Please make sure you keep in touch and share your future successes with us. To see more of Veruschka’s work, you can visit her at website at: http://www.veruschkaguerra.com/
If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Veruschka. I am sure she’d love it and I enjoy reading them, too. Thanks!