Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 17, 2021

Illustrator Saturday: Petronela Dostalova

Petronela graduated from the Cambridge School of Art with a MA in Children’s Book Illustration. Before the MA she was studying Fine Arts at the University of East Anglia. In 2015 her children’s book project “The Reds and Greens” was highly commended for the Creative Conscience Award. The project was promoting equality. Petronela comes from a Czech-Slovak-Hungarian background but decided to nest into the heart of Suffolk where she currently lives and works with her partner and their dog Haribo. If you don’t find her drawing at her desk, she will be out travelling or cycling somewhere. She likes to be near, in, on or under water at anytime of the day except when she is drawing – she is still working on a way to be able to do these things at the same time.

Petranela Dostalova is represented by Anne Moore Armstrong — to work with Petronela please email Anne

HERE IS PETRONELA showing her process:

My working process consists of a very little almost any of pre-sketching. I mainly draw shapes in one colour to which I attach textures (wood, metal, fabric). I enjoy experimenting with digital brushes out of which my favourites are watercolour brushes.

I also use many of print, watercolour textures with different blending modes for different effects. My photoshop files consist of many layers which are then merged into individual objects\characters for the final submission. I apply light as last.


Were you interested in art when you were in boarding school in Košice?

I had a personal interest in art but the school I was attending was not art orientated.

Why did you decide to leave Slovakia and move to Sulfolk, UK?

It was partially for adventure and partially to start my art education.

Was the language change to English difficult to learn?

It had challenging and fun moments too.

Did you sell any of your art while going to school?

Yes, I have sold a very small number of artwork.

In 2015, you received the Creative Conscience Award for “The Reds and Greens,” children’s book project. Can you tell us about this award and the project?

The purpose of Creative Conscience as a creative community and global not-for-profit organisation is innovation that can make a positive change. “The Reds and Greens” picture book project was promoting equality through the use of colour.

What inspired you to want to illustrate Children’s books?

I studied Children’s Book Illustration and it felt natural to try and pursue this path.

Did you take any time off before starting your MA at Cambridge School of Art?

I have had a couple of months off during the summer.

What made you decide to get your Masters in Children’s Book Illustration?

The course felt unique and attractive combined with the perfect location.

Did Cambridge School Of Art help you find illustration work?

The creative network and the buzz of the school is amazing and I found it very helpful.

How did you get the job to illustrate The THINGs has published by Child’s Play in August 2019?

I have met the publisher of Child’s Play at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. He was kind to take some unscheduled time and paged through my portfolio and inquired about the characters of the Things. I’ve explained the story behind the characters and the story’s been commissioned.

I recently featured Milo’s Moonlight Mission on Writing and Illustrating. How did you connect with YeeHoo Press and get this illustration job?

Thank you for featuring Milo’s Moonlight Mission. I’ve connected with Yeehoo Press through Ilaria Vigilante from the Bright Agency.

How long did you have to illustrate Milo’s Moonlight Mission?

We have signed in June 2020 and my last art submission was in February 2021.

I see you are represented by Anne Moore Armstrong at the Bright Agency. How did you connect with her?

I connected with Anne through an art submission which she’s responded to.

Do you use galleries and exhibits to show off you work?

I don’t use galleries but I really like them and perhaps will get the chance to use them one day.

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

Yes, but I can’t be too specific – some days more than others.

Would you consider illustrating a book for an author who wants to self-published?

I haven’t thought, researched or experienced working for a self-published author so it is neither yes or no at this stage.

Has the Internet helped open doors for you?

The internet made matters easier but I am not sure if it has opened the doors.

Does Suffolk have a thriving artist community?

Suffolk has a wide range of artists working as a community or individuals.

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


Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines?

Not for a magazine but I think I would enjoy it should the occasion arise.

Do you take pictures or do research before you illustrate a book?

I do a bit of both. I use many reference images.

What do you think helped develop your style?

Experimenting with the software and noting what works and repetition helped me a lot.

Do you dabble at other forms of art?

Unfortunately, not at the moment.

Do you have a studio in your house?

Yes, I do have a little corner of our house I can call my studio.

What do you think is your biggest success?

I don’t think I can answer this question.

What materials and/or tools do you use to create your work?

I draw digitally on a Wacom tablet in Photoshop.

Has that changed over time?

Yes, it has changed. I used to work in collage prior to digitalising. I had a bicycle accident. The injury took many months to heal and I was unable to use my right arm properly but I could use a computer mouse with that hand and draw with my left hand on the tablet.

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


Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfil?

I would like to write and illustrate more of my own stories and maybe see some of my illustrations in motion.

What are you working on now?

I am currently finishing illustrating a picture book with someone else’s text. The book will be released in autumn 2021 in the US.

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.

I really enjoy Wacom products.

Any words of wisdom for new illustrators?

Trying to literally measure the 10000 hour rule is fun.

Petronela, thank you for taking the time to answer the interview questions and showing us your process. Please let me know about your future books and successes so I can share them with everyone. 

To see more of Petronela’s work, you can visit her at:






Talk tomorrow,



  1. Brilliant. I love your style, Petronela. All the best to you 🥂


  2. Love love love your work, Petronela!




  4. I love the layering! It really gives texture and depth to your illustrations, Petronela! Lovely! Best wishes!


  5. What fun illustrations! I love her style. Thanks for the post.


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