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Kite Tales welcomes artist Imelda Hinojosa to share her inspiration and process with the community in creating her work. Her piece for #KTIllustrates2022 displayed a joy for movement and color that best displayed the idea of the prompt: When we begin to play…

Congratulations again to our winner and read on to learn more about Imelda and to view her wonderful work.

Hello SCBWI community! My name is Imelda Hinojosa and I am a long time member of SCBWI. 

My favorite materials to work with are watercolor, acrylics, and ink. I like their fast drying time and flexibility. Typically, I start a project with a light pencil layout and then apply soft washes of color or ink wash, building up the color and then finishing with line detail. When working with inks, the black and white tones remind me of vintage family photos. Ink, applied in a rich wash, can create a moodiness reminiscent of classic, beloved black and white movies.

The work surfaces I choose most often are hot press watercolor paper, illustration board or smooth wooden panels. I work small, under 16 x 20 inches, but I have painted in a variety of sizes and surfaces—from tiny miniature paintings the size of a postage stamp, to large canvases, to furniture and murals in private homes, schools, and businesses. I admit, I will paint on anything, including creating art on a leather flight jacket, antique ice skates, and I even painted on an elephant!

Imelda’s art on some vintage ice skates!

Being an artist is all I ever wanted. There was never any other life choice. I made books for my nieces, and later my sons, and dreamed of being a published author/illustrator. When I discovered SCBWI and attended my first conference in Century City (Los Angeles) it was an experience I will never forget. I walked into a huge conference room and listened to amazing speakers: artists and writers that had the same dream. They had achieved the dream and it was their reality to create beautiful, beloved books for young readers. It was possible! I felt I had found my place among kindred spirits.

If I had advice to give other creators right now, it would be to remember to be gentle with yourself. Life brings unexpected curves and often things in life happen at a different pace than we imagined. We live balancing our creativity, family, relationships, jobs, the endless “TO DO” list, and time ends up going by fast. It is too easy to judge your progress and your depleted energy. Stay inspired by beautiful art you see created for young readers. Keep a little notebook on your nightstand, to catch those “middle of the night great ideas” that you think you will remember but disappear as soon as you wake up. Let yourself be supported by like-minded people, like people in the SCBWI.

Because of SCBWI, I participated in a crazy hat contest with one of the judges being Tomie dePaola and I had a portfolio reviewed by artists like Dan Santat and Kent Culotta. I had the opportunity to meet and be inspired by so many amazing artists and writers. So being highlighted for #KTIllustrates is an honor and I am so grateful.  

For more fantastic content, community, events, and other professional development opportunities, become a member today! Not sure if there is a chapter in your area? Check here.

Imelda Hinojosa is an artist, illustrator and Art-O-Mat maker (Artomat.org) She is the cover artist for The Fina Mendoza Mystery books. She lives in LA with her menagerie, tending her wild garden and drawing daily. Find more of her work at Artworkbyimelda.com & on Instagram Artwork by Imelda (studio) and Imelda.Illustration (Children’s Art).

Images provided by Imelda Hinojosa.