To celebrate the launch of her latest title, I am so excited to share my interview with the super-talented Angela Padron. She is offering a FREE copy of “The Hero in You” written by award-winning singer-songwriter, Ellis Paul with pictures by Angela Padron. Check out the giveaway link after the interview to enter.
Angela was born and raised in Freehold, NJ but moved to Florida in 2002. For over 15 years, Angela taught bilingual, ESL, Spanish, and Art in public schools before becoming a freelance writer and illustrator. She writes and illustrates board books, picture books, chapter books, and middle grade novels, and loves to include humor, characters of color and cultural themes in her stories. She’s a big fan of Bruce Coville, Mary Pope Osborne, Alma Flor Ada, Roald Dahl, Shel Silverstein, Mo Willems, Bob Shea, Mark Teague, Jarrett Krosoczka, David Shannon, Eric Carle, Leo Lionni, and Amy Bates, among others.
Angela also writes and edits content for educational publishers and works as an adjunct professor at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. She holds five college degrees, including an MFA in Illustration from Academy of Art University in San Francisco. In addition, Angela has been a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) since 2004 and is one of the artists at Studio 18 in the Pines in South Florida. Visit her website and follow her blog “Show and Tell.” Angela is also on Facebook and Twitter.
Book blurb from Goodreads:
Acclaimed songwriter Ellis Paul brings the inspirational words from his songs to the pages of a new picture book! Based on his award-winning family album of the same name, The Hero in You introduces kids to thirteen real-life American heroes. From Chief Joseph to Rosa Parks, their remarkable, heroic lives motivate and encourage us to aim high and try our best.
ENGLE: Thank you very much for stopping by for an interview. Share a bit about your experiences as a writer-editor and as an illustrator. That’s a lot of hats! How do you juggle your talents?
PADRON: Thank you for the interview, Jaimie. I enjoy reading your blog very much.
Yes, I do happen to love wearing a lot of hats – figuratively and literally! I’ve been working as a freelance developmental editor and writer for educational publishers since 2007 while teaching part-time. Sometimes I write the content for textbooks or other educational publications, and sometimes I edit the content. It all depends on what the companies need me to do for a particular project. Being a freelancer has given me the ability to balance work with time to do writing and illustrating of children’s books, including working on my own stories and ideas.
ENGLE: What training do you have as an artist? What advice would you offer an aspiring picture book illustrator?
PADRON: I’ve been drawing and creating art all my life. I earned my B.A. in Art and began working as an Art teacher. Then once I realized my true passion was writing and illustrating children’s books, I decided to go back to school for my MFA in Illustration through Academy of Art University’s online program. Of course, being a member of SCBWI and attending conferences, workshops, and critique groups for the last 10 years has helped greatly.
I would advise any aspiring illustrator to study the craft – you don’t necessarily have to take official college courses but attend workshops, listen to people who have been published, study others’ work, go to the library and study new and previously published books, focus on developing your style or niche, be open to critique and constructive criticism, and draw draw draw all the time.
ENGLE: What is an interesting or bizarre fact we don’t know about you?
PADRON: Hmmm… I’m not sure if this will come back to haunt me but… I don’t like chocolate. Though I like chocolate chip cookies, just as long as they’re not too chocolaty. I never said I was normal.
ENGLE: As an illustrator, do you create the concept or do you illustrate after the book is completed? What’s a typical illustrating day like for you?
PADRON: If it’s my own story that I’m illustrating, I usually write the story first and then figure out the characters and look that I want. If it’s someone else’s story I’m illustrating, I make sure to draw out lots of ideas before presenting a few options to choose from. A typical illustrating day is usually spending a lot of time looking online at photo references and sketching until I get the look of the character that I want. I spend a lot of time on research and studying – I’m kind of a nerd. Then in the days after, I’ll sketch out thumbnails to brainstorm compositions of the page illustrations before working on full rough sketches. I’ll get the opinions of my critique group members and/or client, make adjustments, then redraw the sketch before working on the color version.
PADRON: Thank you, I’m super excited. The book is called “The Hero in You”, written by Ellis Paul. It’s published by Albert Whitman & Co and due out September 1. The entire book consists of Ellis Paul’s lyrics to songs he wrote about famous Americans, such as Chief Joseph, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison, to name a few. After much brainstorming, I decided to illustrate the book as if the famous people were children so the readers could relate to them and think, “If they could make a difference in history and be considered a hero, I could be too.” In fact, the last song in the book is an original song by Ellis Paul encouraging readers to think about how they could be a hero and make a difference. The book can be bought with or without a CD of the songs. It was so much fun to illustrate because I got to research about all these famous people and I got to portray children of all different races and ethnicities, something I love to do.
ENGLE: If you were trapped on a deserted island with one book, one drink, one friend from literature, and one song what would that look like?
PADRON: On busy days, I sometimes wish this would happen to me so I could relax a bit. I could picture myself lying in a hammock between two palm trees while reading anything by Bruce Coville or Roald Dahl with Willy Wonka and his Oompa Loompas serving me sangria and Sweettarts while I sang “Eye of the Tiger” at the top of my lungs.
ENGLE: If you could be a Muppet who would you be and why?
PADRON: This was the hardest question of them all! On one hand, I’d love to be Animal so I could bang on the drums all day. On the other, I’d take Cookie Monster’s job any day. But as a kid I wanted to be Zoot, the sax player in Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem Band since I played the sax – and still remember how. So I’ll go with him.
ENGLE: What other projects do you have in the works?
PADRON: Right now I’m working on a book dummy for an early picture book called “Time to Go, Zo!” Actually, I was recently named as a semi-finalist in the SCBWI Tomie dePaola Illustration contest for some of the illustrations I’ve done for the book dummy.
I’m also writing a chapter book and have a couple of other picture books to polish before illustrating some images for them as well.
And now for the giveaway: