Illustrator Interview: Alex Mankiewicz

PROFESSIONAL BIO: Alex Mankiewicz
Alex Mankiewicz is an Australian based illustrator who has lived in Japan, France and the US. She began as a printmaker, a graphic essential approach that informs her illustrations. She also recognised by American Illustration. Clients include marketing, editorial, and scholastic publications. Current commissions: French WWI graphic novel tetralogy, and upcoming picture book series.

Alex’s words:
Pictures saturate our world. At times overwhelming, yet undeniably the most effective global communication currency. The task of the illustrator is to (quickly) create clever concise images that cut through the visual noise. To stand alone or to support text. Images must initially engage the target audience in whatever country or community they originate, but increasingly they also demand cross-cultural accessibility.

Style can adapt to content. To engage immediately, to make the viewer think and feel in a fresh unexpected way – hopefully to stay with them for some time after.

Illustration without an idea is decoration.

1) How did you become an illustrator of children’s books or similar works?
Being mainly an editorial and narrative illustrator, I decided to do a picture book for my niece’s first child.  That work led to others in the field.

2) Describe your illustration style
Figurative, not quite ligne claire.

3) When did you realise you could make a living from your talent?
Every time a commission comes in.  Freelance is an endless ‘what if’.

4) Who are your biggest influences in your artistic career?
Steig’s Sylvester and  the Magic Pebble for children’s books; European graphic tradition for adult work.

5) When collaborating with an author or a client, how do you ensure you are able to translate their words into art and convey the message they are trying to portray?
Illustration complements text so it’s important to find the tone the author is using.  I also feel it’s important with children’s books to give the readers extra things to ‘find’ in the images, ones are still in keeping with the story, but usually add humour.  No matter how serious the subject, humour can offer a momentary respite and enhance the readers engagement with characters and tale.

6) Tell us about the proudest piece of work you have done.
Whenever a work elicits a response from a reader that says it touched them or they could relate their own experience to the images, that is a reward.

7) What advice do you have for aspiring illustrators?
Don’t worry too much about developing a particular recognisable style; each illustration has its own requirements.  Your natural touch will show through and unite your works, even with tailored approaches to each market/audience.

8) Please provide a short brief of each of the pictures you have submitted

Wee Charles & the Strawberry Fairy, the second Wee Charles adventure.

Wee Charles & the Strawberry Fairy

Hans & Wolfgang: Hans, the sauerkraut loving cat, heads for a nap in the flowerbed.

Hans & Wolfgang

‘P is for Pigs Who Might Fly’ from Creature Clichés’, an alphabet bestiary

P is for Pigs Who Might Fly

Spot illustration of dogwalking.

Spot illustration of dogwalking

Should you wish to know more about Alex Mankiewicz, here are her pertinent details.

Website: Alex Mankiewicz
Alex’s social media connections:

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