I want to introduce you to my incredible illustrator, Svitlana Holovchenko!
The publisher I had signed with asked me if there was anyone in particular I wanted to work with on illustrations for my story after the entire clipart debacle. I knew this was my opportunity to find my dream illustrator and send her information to the editor.
I scoured the internet for websites and portfolios over the weekend so that I could submit four illustrators I'd be happy to work with. I spoke in depth with each illustrator about the scope of this project, the timeline, and that they would have to be ok with the author (me) being very involved with the vision. I wanted to leave space for the professional to take over on the creativity front, but as far as the basis of the story, my own children as the characters, the fact that this picture book is based on a true story, it had to be somewhat accurate. After finding four amazing illustrators, it was clear that Svitlana was the one I had fallen in love with her illustrations... and I wouldn't be satisfied with anything else. My daughters, Sadie and Josie, also selected Svitlana as their top choice. It was completely unanimous.
After the publisher told me they didn't want to pay for illustrations (another story for another time), I had my agent get my rights back immediately, and out of the deal, immediately.
I knew I had to work with Svitlana... so I took a leap of faith and hired her, signed her onto the project, and I have never looked back. I have been so incredibly happy working with her.
Even though we do not speak each other's language, we have found a way to use google translator to communicate and share the vision of the project. She and I have bonded over motherhood and our care for the environment, particularly the ocean. She is Ukrainian and has been living in Germany over the past few years. She is one of the most talented illustrators I've ever seen, ever. I am so lucky to have her illustrate this very special story... after all, it is the illustrations that make a book come to life, and trust me, she has made my story come to life.
We are getting close to the finish line... and will have a pre-order link for the book in the next few weeks. Sneak peeks of her illustrations will also be coming soon. In the meantime... here are some of the illustrations that made us completely fall in love with her work...
HUGE shoutout to Svitlana... Thank you for making this dream become a reality for me!
You can follow her on instagram @svitlanaholovchenko and twitter @sholovchenko or find her online: https://hotarudesign.jimdosite.com/art/
That's all for now...
Blair has travelled extensively all over the world. She and her husband enjoy taking their kids on big adventures together. Blair writes children's picture books for all ages! Most of her stories are inspired by life events. They feature kid’s curiosity, love of the environment, laughter, and fantasy.