Monday, April 6, 2009

Art Day Interview: Illustrator Stephen Macquignon

Today’s Art Day Interview is with illustrator Stephen Macquignon. Read on to find out more about Stephen and his art.

Q: How did you get started illustrating for children?
A: I attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City with the intent of becoming a comic book artist, however in my last year I took an illustrating for children’s book class and that is when I found a home for my art style.

Q: Tell us a little bit about the recent books you illustrated.
A: I have three picture books coming out from 4RV Publishing. “Angeline Jellybean,” by Crystalee Calderwood, is about a little girl who loves to eat jellybeans. ”Colors,” by Dana Warren, is simply a book about color. The difference between this book and other books like it, is that it goes beyond “green means; go red means stop.” It also is about color as a feeling. (Both Angeline Jellybean and Color are out now.) “Would a Kangaraffe Make you Laffe?” by Richard Aaron, is about animals that were connected together, example: half of lion & half hippo. It’s coming out in early summer. Also coming out, in April, is a chapter book I illustrated, for 4RV Publishing, called the “The Art of Science,” by Ransom Noble. Learn more about my books at the publisher’s website.

Q: What are you working on right now? Do you have any other books or art projects you’d like to talk about?
A: I am finishing up “If Fish Could Drive,” by Dana Warren, another picture book, plus two more picture books following this one, “The Marshmallow Man,” by Rena Jones, and “Libby the Odd Squirrel,” by Lea Schizas.

Q: Do you do non-children’s book art (licensing, fine art, etc.) or art just for fun? Is that art similar or different from your children’s book art?
A: Cards for birthdays and other holiday’s friends and family only a few logo designs, but no the style stays the same.

Q: When someone else has written the text for a picture book or novel, how do you decide what scenes and details to draw?
A: I am given a break down on what text will be on what page, so I kind of make it simple just to follow along.

Q: When illustrating picture books (or novels) do you include a visual storyline that’s not in the text or include animals or people you know?
A: No, I have kept things like that out of the illustrations I try to keep to what is written in the text.

Q: Can you explain your art process?
A: I have how I put the Angeline Jellybean cover together from start to finish on my blog.
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

Q: What is your favorite color?
A: I have no favorite color I love them all!

Q: What is your favorite medium to work in?
A: Pen & ink / digital color is a lot of fun.

Q: What childhood art supply brings back happy memories?
A: I think crayons.

Q: Do you have a favorite childhood picture that you remember making?
A: No not really.

Q: Did you always want to be an artist when you grew up?
A: Yes since I think it started in middle school if not earlier.

Q: Do you use models / source pictures or do you draw from your memory/imagination?
A: Yes to all of it, a good reference could really improve your work even when your style is not realistic it is good to know how many toes a character has.

Q: If you could be anything other than an artist, what would you be?
A: I’m also a New York State licensed massage therapist; I enjoy helping people.

Q: What gets you through an illustration you’re having trouble with?
A: Time. I put it aside work on something else. I try my best to forget about it for a while.

Q: What was your favorite toy, stuffed animal or doll when you were growing up?
A: A stuffed mouse; I called it Molly. It was in good shape, until one day my dog thought it was one of its own toys.

Q: What illustrated book(s) do you remember from when you were a child?
A: “The King with Six Friends” by Jay Williams illustrated by Imero Gobbato.

Q: Is there a children’s book illustrator whose work you gravitate towards in the bookstore now? (You can list more than one.)
A: Maurice Sendak, Marie LeTourneau

Q: Did you like to tell jokes or stories as a child?
A: No. I was a quiet kid; I kept to my self.

Q: If you could be a kid again for just one day, what would you do?
A: Go to an amusement park and pay half price. *laugh*

Bio: Out side of working with 4RV Publishing, I’ve been fortunate to be a contributing illustrator for "Stories for Children Magazine," working along side some very talented Writers, Editors, & Art Directors, the experience has been priceless. One of the illustrations I have done for “Stories for Children,” called "A Grand Dilemma," just won the Preditors & editors Readers Poll 2008 for Best Artwork. To read more about me or to see more of my art work please visit me on jacketflap or at my blog.

Thanks for the interview Stephen!
All images in this post © Stephen Macquignon.


  1. Excellent interview. I enjoyed the questions and answers.

    Of course I'm a bit biased. Stephen's work is some of my favorite.


  2. Thanks for the interview Stephen! I tried to comment on your blog, but I had to register. Congratulations on your new book!

    :) Vivian

  3. That was a great interview! I loved reading it!

  4. What a great interview. It's nice to hear how an illustrator works.