A few questions for Megan Elizabeth Gilbert
Why is this your favorite illustration from When God Made You?
Carmelo was the very first child that came alive for me. When I first read the manuscript, I immediately had an image of Carmelo and his environment. I worked on his illustration first and it came very quickly and easily. His warm smile was a comfort, encouragement, and guide to meeting and creating the other characters/illustrations. Another one of my favorite illustrations in the book is the last one I did, of the lines of children on the inside cover page. This one came as a surprise to all of us working on the book, I think.
What was the most interesting thing that happened to you while working on this book?
We welcomed our second daughter into the world! My family and I were very thankful that she was such a good sleeper right from the start. But there are also so many interesting things that I learned; for instance, one of the unique perks of working with this manuscript was the wonderful opportunity it created for learning more about the diverse cultures of your characters. Research was essential to be respectful. For example, when drawing Hikaru, I particularly enjoyed researching different types of dragons, what types were seen where, even how many claws a Japanese dragon was said to have, compared to a European dragon! By the way, it's three.
Besides being an artist, what other gifts did God give you that make you who you are?
I love to garden and be in nature. Perhaps that is why I feel so connected to Carmelo? I love being with and learning from children. I have my Montessori teaching certification and am choosing to use it in the home for my own children's education. One gift that has also come in handy during our travels is a good sense of direction!
Since you have two little girls, when do you find time to make art?
Once my 10 month- and 3 year-old daughters are asleep, I work at night, often while listening to Ancient Faith podcasts, actually! Before beginning, I pray a special prayer that my handiwork will be for the glory of God. I find that if I try to mix the roles/responsibilities, things get messy. It's best to give 100% to my daughters and then 100% to my art work. During the day with my girls, I am inspired by many things (the things they are learning/seeing/doing, our nature walks, people we meet, etc.) and I always carry my sketch-book with me, and often my camera as well.
What words of advice do you have for aspiring young artists?
Look. Observe. Wonder. And then practice drawing everyday. I love the quote by G.K. Chesterton, "The world never lacks in wonders, only wonder." Try to hold onto that childlike wonder as you grow older, and bring that magic and appreciation into your art work. Also, if you have a dream to do something, it is important to share that with others, because you never know who you might meet and what may come of that meeting if we are bold enough to share our hearts.