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A native to Southern California, Andrea Yomtob worked for twenty years as a Computer Animator/FX Artist at Nickelodeon and Film Roman, until she found her love for writing and illustrating picture books. She has created the winning piece for our 2nd Annual #KTIllustrates Contest, announced last month.

Andrea enjoys combining mediums like watercolor and collage with her digital animation skills. Today we find out more about her passion for illustrating for kids.

KITE TALES: Congratulations again, Andrea! Can you tell us a little bit about your work and what inspires you? Are there certain mediums you like to use?

Andrea Yomtob: I’ve always been inspired by everyday stories of people throughout history… or even daily “life” moments with my family. 

I jot these inspirational moments down in a notebook when they happen. For example, my four-year-old son woke up from his first bad dream. Through his tears, he asked if we could write a letter to the bad dream asking it to leave him alone. His emotions and creative problem solving captured my imagination and remains a seed of an idea in my notebook.

Regarding mediums, I like using micron ink pens, Dr. Ph. Martin’s watercolor, and collage on paper. I scan the images I’ve created into the computer, clean them up in Photoshop where I “noodle” with, and assemble them for the final art piece. 

KT: So you’ve worked in the animation industry for a long time: how do you think that has influenced your workflow?

AY: Working in animation has influenced my workflow by how I approach separating out the elements of a single image before painting them. For instance, with the Dragon image, I painted the treehouse, the tree, the dragon, the book he’s holding, the dragon’s front leg, the wooden signs, and the stack of books separately from one another. This approach allows me flexibility when assembling the parts in Photoshop and editing later on if there are notes or changes.

KT: It seems that your time in animation has influenced your style as well. Has anything helped you change/evolve your style? Do you have a favorite?

AY: I’m influenced by the various styles of other artists like Maurice Sendak, Rafael López, Evaline Ness, Rufino Tamayo, Tomie dePaola, Anna Cunha, Gyo Fujikawa, Uri Shulevitz, and the list goes on. My love of experimenting with mediums, pushing outside my comfort zone, and being open to feedback are most helpful in evolving my style. I’ve done this most recently with the “shape” style, which I experimented with while taking a course at Story Teller Academy.  

I don’t have a favorite style, I truly enjoy working in various mediums, challenging myself, and discovering what works best for the story.

KT: Many creatives have shared with us their struggle in keeping motivated throughout the pandemic. What has helped you over the last year that has kept you going and keep creating?

AY: It’s been a mixture of unwavering passion for illustrating/storytelling, creating a space at home that was just for me, carving out dedicated quiet time to work, as well as having support from family. I’m actually a bit of a hermit and could spend all day inside working on an illustration.  

KT: And just for fun: Do you have a dream project or someone you’d like to work with? Who or what would it be and why would you want to do it?

AY: There are a lot of professional writers, illustrators, and publishing houses I admire and would feel honored to collaborate with as an author, illustrator, or both. But for fun, if I had to choose someone I’d like to work with, it would be Mo Willems because I admire his master storytelling, his innovative conceptual thinking, and also share his love of museums. 

I was a docent at LACMA, where I led children ages K-12 through the galleries. I designed tours where we’d sit, observe, and do drawing exercises relating to the art piece and time period of the artist. The impact this makes on children is tremendous and was very fulfilling to me.

Thanks for joining us, Andrea! And for those of you who would like to find out more about Andrea, visit her website, or follow her on Instagram or Twitter.

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Images provided by Andrea Yomtob.