“Can you summarize what you would tell students on the first day?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: If you were teaching a class on beginner digital illustration for children, can you summarize what you would tell your students on the first day of class (after you cover the syllabus etc.)? They are eager to get going with making a great illustration and hope for some practical advice, having some basic drawing skills under their belt.


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Adams: Anna, you should invite me to speak at a local school to see firsthand. I have 3 rules for students of any age: raise your hand if you have a question; pay attention; and ask good questions. Raise your hand and use your voice, the best time to learn is now. Pay attention because the knowledge you want is in front of you. And ask good questions because you’ll get good answers. Average question: “Mr. Adams do you like being an illustrator?” Answer: “Yes.” Good Question: “Everything you’ve asked in this interview!”

Also I use the visual example that at three years old, I scribbled and my mom said “Wow!” One day I drew an obscure heart-shaped image. My mom didn’t say anything but loved on me. I kept drawing the heart and received the same response from my dad. When I arrived in Kindergarten, I showed my teacher I could write my ABC’s. She said, “One day you’ll be a writer.” From age 3 to 5, I wasn’t born an artist or a writer, but through practice and positive feedback I became one. Every person is a product of the type of effort and encouragement we give and receive.

I think this is why I’ve visited so many elementary schools. I’m not there to sell a book; I’m there to inspire at least one person to achieve their dream.
Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD

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“Do you make money for public appearances?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: You were drawing for visitors to your booth at the ALA. I believe you also do these types of drawings during your art presentations at schools. Do you do these public art projects because of your desire to perform your art before a live audience? Do you ever make money on these appearances? Do you use them for research or to market your illustrations to kids? At ALA, were you giving any of the resulting drawings away? You had tossed a few of them onto the carpet in front of you at ALA, and you toss them on the floor of auditoriums etc. in your school presentations. Do you toss them down for symbolic reasons or to illicit sympathy, or because you want to display them and you don’t have board to clip them onto? Were you drawing what visitors asked for, or whatever came to mind? Do you doodle and free-draw to come up with ideas for your illustrations? If not, what do you do to research ideas or to come up with initial character sketches?

AdamsDrawing Is My Super Power! That would be my t-shirt slogan. I find an audience, whether drawing on a pad, a napkin, or in a Best Sketchbook. I drew for free when I was younger. Some people appreciated the gesture, other discarded my effort. In the 3rd grade, I began to charge for my time and the appreciation level increase. This remains true today.

My first professional illustration contracts came from tossing drawings on the floor at Book Expo America in Los Angeles, California. I did this both for symbolic and sympathetic purposes, depending on the audience.

Publishing (writing, illustration, and marketing) is about inspiring an emotion. I can’t keep every drawing, so I give them to conference audiences who feel sympathy when they step on a “pretty picture.” I also joke, “This drawing is worthless until I sign it!” Publishing audiences find my personality a plus in the working relationship.

IMG_6356I’ve meet over 1 million students through paid elementary school visits. I walk on “pretty pictures” to show students and teachers sheets of paper have less value than the pages within a book. This reinforces the need to journal in hardbound books.

Do I give away drawings for free? Yes, I’ve given away over 45,000 drawings in eight years like the ones you mentioned at ALA. My gift makes others happy and in return makes me happy. I do have two rules. Children are the recipients of most drawings unless it’s for a teacher’s classroom or at a conference. Also, I only draw one picture per person, per day. This rule stemmed from my own children asking me to draw instead of doing it themselves. My children get one picture, just like anyone else’s child.

IMG_3952I have over 100 journals (23,000 pages of drawing and writing). These journals are 20 years of research and inspiration. Illustration clients are asked to provide me a list of 5 of their favorite children’s books, 5 new books they discovered at the library or bookstore, and 5 things they’d do for free. Their favorite children’s books tell me who they were. The new books tell me what they expect based on paper types, finishes, and dimensions. Lastly, incorporating something they love in the illustrations will boost discussion topics with readers.
Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD