Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 12, 2018

Illustrator Sunday

Victoria’s love for drawing led her to pursue a well-rounded artistic background with courses completed in a wide range of concepts and media, including drawing and composition, figure drawing, painting, illustration, multimedia and game design. She became an executive board member of the Simi Valley Art Association at the beginning of 2015, where she quickly gained local recognition for her uniquely stylized pen-and-ink illustrations. Her work in the association has won various awards.

As a member of SCBWI, Victoria has participated in critique groups, Sketch Crawls, the Ventura County regional chapter Traveling Sketchbook, and the monthly DrawThis! challenge.

Victoria adores creating art that emphasizes the beauty of nature- and particularly birds, fish, insects, and floral designs, along with cute children and animal characters.

Victoria lives in Southern California with her husband and daughter, and three little dogs. When not drawing, reading or writing, Victoria enjoys watching movies with her daughter, eating dessert, and drinking coffee or tea. She is a fan of traditional animation, the Great Gatsby and the roaring twenties, and Audrey Hepburn films.

The attached samples are pieces from my own picture book dummy, Mockingbird, Make Up Your Mind, a rhyming and lyrical onomatopoeic board book all about the many sounds a mockingbird can make.


Hi Victoria, I’m enjoying looking at your work, most of which is really lovely and I really like the premise of your story. I have one main point I’d like to make, and it’s something that I see a lot, and that’s figure/ground confusion. Meaning that your character doesn’t necessarily stand out from the background. And the way to do this is through contrast – light against dark or vice versa and contrasting colors warm against cool or cool against warm. Your little leprechaun in this first image is very cute and I love his round belly. Having green against green with just the pink of his skin contrasting against the background sky makes him look a little disembodied with a floating head. So I might change that by adding a blue or light purple wash like I did in Photoshop when I added a quick and dirty new PSD layer at 30% so that you have a little more contrast for your little leprechaun.

The other thing I’d like to point out is that having his tail feathers cropped seems a little broken. And while cropping can be a terrific tool, sometimes I feel things look a little chopped off. I think you could angle your bird a little differently so that those tail feathers stay in the picture even if it means making your bird a little smaller, while still keeping the contrast of the big bird next to the tiny leprechaun. I had a quick go but feel that those tail feathers still need to be a bit longer.

In image above, I felt that the flat horizontal bird was deadening your composition a little so I angled her a smidge with the transform tool into more of a diagonal (always more exciting) and rounded her back a bit to make her a little more delightfully plum and full like your previous image.

In this final image, I’m not sure if my color tweak made it better or worse because there’s something very beautiful about your original. However it looks like it’s from a different place than your first color image with all the watercolor effects. Your leprechaun also changed substantially so I radically elongated and slimmed his face using the warp tool in Photoshop’s transform menu and slimmed and lengthened his nose. The only other thing I’d like to say, is that your butterfly lacks the sensitivity of everything else because it has a much thicker outline and is much more opaque and flat, so I’d think about redoing or eliminating it. I really enjoyed critiquing this and hope As always, take what you like and leave the rest, knowing that as many people as look at your work, that’s how many opinions you’ll get. I hope that you find something helpful in what I’ve written and done. ~ Mira

Mira Reisberg is a former university professor with a PhD in education and cultural studies focused on children’s literature. She’s also a former Literary Agent, and award-winning children’s book illustrator/writer as well as an acquiring Editor and Art Director at Clear Fork Publishing’s children’s book imprint Spork. In addition, Mira is the Director of the Children’s Book Academy and is thrilled to say that her former students have now published over 230 books. She’s extremely excited to be co-teaching a fabulous mind, skills, and career opening course with Andrea Miller from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in just 9 days! Here’s the link to find out more or join her tribe here to receive helpful information, special offers, and lovely gifts.

Thank you Mira for sharing your time and expertise with Victoria and us. Can’t wait to hear about your online workshop with Andrea and the illustrator/writers when it is done.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Oh this is wonderful. I say Voctoria’s work is amazing but I she just needed to tweak them a bit so they stand out.


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