Illustrator Interview: Stephen Macquignon

Stephen MacquignonPROFESSIONAL BIO:
Stephen Macquignon has illustrated eleven picture books. The first one he worked on was Angeline Jellybean published in 2008 by 4RV Publishing and a chapter book called The Art of Science. He was a contributing illustrator with Berry Blue Haiku Magazine and also Stories for Children Magazine, working alongside some very talented editors, art directors, and writers. More recently he illustrated Tea with the Queen an eBook/ paperback for Xist Publishing.

He has had the privilege of working for Michael Sporn Animation Inc. on many different titles including, The Little Match Girl, Ira Sleeps Over, Abel’s Island and many more. He also has a Bachelor degree from The School of Visual Arts NY and is a proud member of SCBWI.

1) How did you become an illustrator of children’s books or similar works despite never having read a picture book when you were a child?
Well I did look at the pictures. It happened while attending The School of Visual Arts in NYC. I was planning to be a cartoonist like Charles Shultz, but I was short on credits in my last year of college and a class on creating art for picture books fit into my schedule. And that was it

2) Describe your illustration style and creative process. What makes your illustrations unique and different? 
I have been told that my ink line is unique that it’s easy to pick out my artwork because of it. I like to think it’s a classic style using brush on watercolour paper, India ink, watercolours and Photoshop.

3) When did you realise you could make a living from your talent? 
I still work full- time as a New York State licenced massage therapist. It is not easy to make a living from your artwork.

4) Has technology changed your trade and the way you work? 
I have been moving away from creating art digitally and have been embracing more traditional mediums. I still use Photoshop on the production end; cleaning up or adjusting the size, splicing images together, maybe adding some kind of text or effect

5) Who are your biggest influences in your artistic career and why?
It all began with my High School art teachers. I can say with 100% certainty that without them I would not have even gone to college, let alone pursued a career in art. At SVA, Will Eisner was a huge influence. My first job as an artist was working with Animation Director Michael Sporn; both taught me how to tell a story using images. Maurice Sendak and Dr Theodore Geisel Seuss are early influences.

6) 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?
Trial and error! I sketch, sketch, sketch, submit, feedback, sketch, sketch, sketch…

7) Tell us about the proudest piece of work you have done.
Not an easy one to answer. It is usually the most recent piece.  However, I was a semi-finalist for the 2014Tomie dePaola award. I was one of fifteen selected for the semi-finals. It was an unforgettable moment .

8) What advice do you have for aspiring illustrators who are trying to break into a highly competitive market?
Keep trying and don’t give up. Don’t go chasing trends; they come as quickly as they go.

9) Please provide a short brief of each of the pictures you have submitted
Mouse Falling Down the Waterfall was chosen for the Tomie dePaola semi-finals. Pen and ink, watercolour and Photoshop.

 Mouse Falling Down the Waterfall

Winter Has Come. First of three illustrations I did with the fox and rabbit theme. Watercolour and India ink and Photoshop.

Winter Has Come

Found Red Mitten is part of the same fox and rabbit theme. Watercolour, India ink and Photoshop.

Found Red Mitten

Should you wish to know more about Stephen Macquignon, here are his pertinent details.

Website: Stephen Macquignon
Stephen’s social media connections:

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