Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 24, 2018

Illustrator Saturday – Maine Diaz

Born in La Plata, Argentina, Maine Diaz, grew up drawing and painting. She was often seen drawing with her pencils or crayons in deep concentration. Cartoons captured her imagination early on and realized immediately that she wants to be an animator when she grows up. Her mother, a biochemist and grandfather were truly flabbergasted upon hearing her declaration. At the age of 16 she took a workshop and start animating, working in films like Patoruzito, El Arca (Patagonik, Argentina), Gizaku and Nocturna (Filmax, Spain). Simultaneously, she enrolled in Audiovisual Communication at Universidad DeLa Plata (UNLP). Soon after, she also started illustrating for children’s story books and educational books. In 2002 with Crimsomnia Studio, she was a finalist at Ford’s “Saldras mas” publicity contest, with “Habitos noctunos” short. In 2005 she won first prize for the character design category of Bizpills (Hi Impatc Learning Experiences), España.

Currently, Maine lives in a tiny green house where she spends time with her two cats, Chula and Lola. She loves tending her garden while Chula eats all the plants and Lola jumps and climbs the trees. Maine prefers to be barefoot while painting and singing in her studio. She is a pretty good cook and sweated several years near the oven and many pans. When not illustrating, she also enjoys swimming, writing, taking photos.

Maine’s most recent projects, The Runaway Chicken: Woodworking by Kiki Thorpe (Kane Press), First Day Friends by Pat Brigandi (Seagrass Press), Si se mueve no es una cosa by Franco Vaccarini, El Gran circo de la granja by Ariel Puyelli & Tal vez alguien recuerde una valija verde by Adela Basch (Estrada), Tengo un Zombi by Sol Silvestre (Letra Impresa), Los Kape y Luz by Primer Ciclo (Kapelusz Norma), El Dragón Perezoso by Kenneth Grahame (Letra Impresa).

Here is Maine explaining her process:

Process is nearly always the same for a book or for a single illustration. I start with tiny fast thumbnails of the pages, just the idea. In a book I find this very interesting, when I have all tiny ideas pages done,  I can see the flow of the story. (1) Ones I see it clear I go for a sketch, define things add details. (2). Then I usually search for some color spots, like the basic idea. (3) And finally I work on it (4).

Process is nearly always the same for a book or for a single illustration. I start with tiny fast thumbnails of the pages, just the idea. In a book I find this very interesting, when I have all tiny ideas pages done, I can see the flow of the story. (1) Ones I see it clear I go for a sketch, define things add details. (2). Then I usually search for some color spots, like the basic idea. (3) And finally I work on it (4).

How long have you been illustrating?

Well I start my way to illustration as an animator,that was when I ended secondary school.

What was the first painting or illustration you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

That would be probably my first animation second.

Did you go to school to study art? If so, where and when did you go? What did you study?

I took a workshop of Animation when I was young then when I finished secondary school I went to the UNLP to study Audiovisual Communication.

Did the school present any opportunity to delve into children’s illustrating?

No.

Did the school help you get work? If not, how did you find illustrating work to start your career?

It was not the school that makes my way to illustration, it was that workshop I toke when I was younger. At the time I start studying Audiovisual Comunication I starting working for some Studios and finally stay working at one, as an animator. I worked there several years and at some time in between productions they offer me to do some works in other areas of the studio so I started making color for some illustrated books, and sometime after that, I ended doing illustration for them.

Do you feel art school influenced your illustrating style?

Animation do.

What type of job did you do right after you graduated?

I was already working on animation.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

I wanted since I was a child to be an animator. Loved books and though as a young I used to illustrate and paint for myself as a hobby (pencils, oils, acrylics, watercolors or whatever, always spended hours and hours painting) the idea of illustrate books do not came by myself. That twist to illustration, came after that offer on the Studio I‘ve worked. At first I toke it as a job, but silently I fall in love with that without knowing.

Was El libro del bebe your first picture book?

No, my first book would be a version of “Caperucita” they gave me on that Studio. As a freelance, my first picture book was “El misterio de la mansión Embrajada y otros cuentos”, ink and grays illustrations.

How did you get that contract?

When I starting thinking of illustrate as a freelance, I send my portfolio to many editorials. Sometime later, a small upcoming editorial wrote me offering this contract.

How many picture books have you illustrated?

Twenty, up to now.

Is THE RUNAWAY CHICKEN your latest book?

Yes.

Have you done any book covers?

Only one.

How did you find representation with the MB?

A friend, who already worked with Mela, showed her my portfolio and so we get in contact. They are amazing.

Are you a full time freelance illustrator?

Now a days, yes.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own children’s book?

I would love to. I have some self-projects in different stages of process, but now, all waiting for me to get enough time to work on them.


Would you illustrate a book for an author who wants to self-publish?

Sure. If I believe in the story and have the time to work on it that would be a nice and enriching experience, team work always is.

Have you worked with educational publishers? Which ones?

Yes, I have work with publishers like, Mandionca, Kapeluzs, RedNova, Pearson.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? Which ones?

Yes, for Babybug, LadyBug and Clubhouse Jr.

Have you ever thought about illustrating a wordless picture book?

Yes, I think that would be a fantastic adventure.

What do you think is your biggest success?

I may say having the chance to work doing what I love.

What is your favorite medium to use?

I still don’t have a favorite medium, for myself, I like try new things, to mix things. Through, if I have to choose one, I like watercolors. Watercolor and brushes disconnect me, kind of a therapy.

Has that changed over time?

Not yet.

Do you have a studio set up in your home?

Yes, I have a space for me at home.

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I try to, though there are periods I have more time than others and periods having time that is nearly impossible.

Do you take pictures or do any type of research before you start a project?

I do. It could be through pictures, internet, books, magazines, a walk out of the desk, everything is useful to open mind.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Definitely yes.

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

Photoshop

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet when illustrating?

Yes, a Wacom.

Do you have any career dreams that you like to fulfill?

Getting to develop and publish a good illustration book of my own is the next dream to work on.

What are you working on now?

I’m now developing characters and style for a starting project.

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

Well, I’ve try for the Wacom the hard felt and flex nibs and they get a really nice sensation on the use.

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

I can share what I say to myself, to try everyday a bit more, keep learning every day and over all try to enjoy what you do.

Thank you Maine for sharing your talent, process, and expertise with us. Make sure you share you future successes with us. To see more of Maine’s work, you can visit her at her website: http://mainediaz.blogspot.com/

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Maine. I am sure she’d love to hear from you and I enjoy reading them, too. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. You are an inspiration, Maine. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work with us.

    Like

  2. such lively and colorful work!

    Like

  3. Just beautiful, irresistible artwork, Maine! 😀 ❤ You're not on Twitter? :-\

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful work!

    Liked by 1 person


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