Illustrator Margarita Kukhtina Talks Christmas, Art, and Inspiration
Interview sponsored by Clever Publishing
The Children’s Book Review | December 14, 2018
Margarita Kukhtina is the illustrator of the delightfully entertaining picture book Holiday Season Look and Find. After studying Fine Arts at Moscow State Academy Of Slavic Culture, she now works as an illustrator and a graphic designer. Margarita created her first illustrated book in 2015 and has since worked with Russian and European publishers. We stole her away from making art to talk Christmas spirit, illustrating, and inspiration …
We just love your book with Clever Publishing, Holiday Season Look and Find. The combination of the design, layout, and adorably engaging illustrations are a total win. We’d love to know the process that takes place in creating your artwork. But first … since it is the holiday season, let’s get into the Christmas spirit. Is Christmas your favorite holiday? What is your best memory of the holiday?
Margarita Kukhtina: Thank you. Yes, I think Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love winter and I really like all the decorations and the brightness of the city’s streets. It always reminds me of the time I spent with my family back when I was a small girl. We went for walks and sleigh rides. I loved seeing my relatives and having fun, especially with my granny.
Now let’s talk about your delightful artwork. Can you describe the artistic process behind your illustration creations?
Like many artists, it all starts with finding the characters and the right mood of the book. First, I do a lot of rough sketches with my pencil and then I choose the one I like the most and make the final illustration digitally. I use Adobe Photoshop and Wacom Intuos tablet for all my digital artwork.
Are there any illustrators that you feel have inspired the way you approach your illustrative work?
Oh, I think there are many illustrators that inspire me. I’ll mention just some of them, but I’ve got a long list! There are a lot of picture books on my bookshelf illustrated by Benji Davies, Carson Ellis, Emily Hughes, Julia Sarda, Monica Barengo and many others.
Which page was the most fun to illustrate in Holiday Season Look and Find?
I really enjoyed drawing Santa’s. It’s my favorite spread and I was so happy to see my friend’s son having fun looking at it. He was very surprised to discover a Santa knitting a scarf or falling into the snow.
Did you draw as a young girl?
Yes, I was drawing since I can remember. But I was not so good at it. I got C- for my drawing at school and I was shocked! Because drawing class was one of the places where you can get an “A” simply because you showed up. It seems that the Universe was trying to tell me that I’ll never choose drawing as a profession, but here I am😊.
What were your favorite books growing up? Are they still some of your favorites?
When I was a child, I did not understand why adult books had no illustrations in them. I would try and add my own drawing to them – you can tell I was a picture book lover. And one of my favorites was, and still is The Swamp King’s Daughter written by Hans Christian Andersen illustrated by Svetozar Ostrov.
How did you start your career as an illustrator?
I was working as a graphic designer and drawing some personal illustrations as a hobby, which I posted on my portfolio page. Until one day I received an email from Clever Publishing. And it changed my life!
If you could go back and tell your teen-self one thing, what would it be?
Dream big, because you never know what life will bring you the next day.
Since creating artwork is your job, what kind of hobbies do you enjoy to relieve stress and help inspire your artwork?
I love music. When I have a little bit of free time, I play the piano. The last tune I’ve learned is “Greensleeves”, it’s simple and so beautiful at the same time and makes me feel like I’m a time traveler finding myself in Middle Aged England.
Are you working on something new and exciting for us to look forward to?
Oh yes, I’ve just finished the illustrations for The Big Book of First Words. It’s so big and colorful, I really enjoyed working on it. And I’m happy to say it’ll be released in the US next spring.
Loaded with hundreds of attention-grabbing illustrations, this adorable Holiday Look & Findbook provides hours of fun for curious toddlers and their entire families.
With almost 800 holiday pictures to search, this stunningly illustrated book combines the classic Look & Find game with a large number of questions and challenges on each page making it not only entertaining but educational as well. Children will also develop attention skills while looking at the bright colorful pictures.
The large format with adorable illustrations make The Holiday Season a wonderful Christmas gift!
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: Clever Publishing | October 30, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1948418317
About Clever Publishing
Clever Publishing was founded in 2010 with the purpose of changing children’s lives for the better. Inspired by its founder’s love for his kids and for books, we are dedicated to creating a world full of wonderful experiences for families. We are incredibly excited to introduce ourvibrant, educational, and entertaining range of books and activities to readers!
Our Mission: To create a wonderful world of books that inspire a child’s imagination through learning and play
Enter for a chance to win a copy of The Holiday Season Look and Find autographed (along with a sweet illustration) by
One (1) lucky winner receives:
- An autographed copy of The Holiday Season Look and Find
Giveaway begins December 14, 2018, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends December 18, 2018, at 11:59 P.M. MT.
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This interview—Illustrator Margarita Kukhtina Talks Christmas, Art, and Inspiration—was conducted between Margarita Kukhtina and Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Christmas, Holiday Gift Guide Kids Books, Illustrator Interview, Picture Book, and Seek And Find Books.