Most of you know we offer picture book illustration, but did you also know we have a concept artist as part of the Qamber Kids #IllustratorTeam? If you didn't, then be prepared to be amazed by artist and illustrator, Sara Valente! Sara is a Young Adult novel and visual development artist. After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Italy, she collaborated with several authors for the creation of artworks for young and adult books. Her portfolio is amazing, as we think you'll agree. Enjoy Sara's work and learn more about her artistic journey in the interview below!
Qamber Kids: Hi Sara, we're really excited to have you as part of our team. To begin, can you tell us about your artistic journey and what led you to pursue your passion?
Sara Valente: Thanks, I am very happy to work with you. Since I was a child I was drawing, and I had the feeling to express my emotions were a second language for me. After primary and secondary school, I immediately started with art school. After, I continued my studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Italy. I have always had a passion for portraits and visual art. From there, the desire to create characters of my imagination with a realistic effect and with strong contrasts began.
QK: You are a visual development or concept artist. For those who aren't familiar with the term, could you explain a little about concept art and what drew you to this method of storytelling?
SV: Yes, when I have a project in progress, I have immediately impressed the image in my mind. So I try to realize it in the most faithful way possible. I use Photoshop, and it's the best tool for me because it allows me to assemble all the ideas together. It is like a movie director, I'm always trying to create the images with a special light to emphasize the atmosphere of the artwork. I start with a fast sketch because I need an immediate idea. After that, I give a gray color to the characters and the background. Sometimes I go directly with the color, and then I move to the shading and the details.
QK: Illustration can be as tough a market to break into as the books we help bring to life. As you developed your career, what helped you most?
SV: I think that my continuous research of the details, and of realism, has brought me where I am now. It is continuous research on the improvement of my style.
QK: Your digital portfolio is stunning. What tools do you prefer to use when crafting a new piece? Can you describe your technique?
SV: Thank you very much. I work with Photoshop, usually a classic brushes base. The charcoal are my favorites because they allow me to give a contrasted image, and at the same time stand out the brushstroke. This creates a bit of texture, to give a more realistic effect.
QK: Is there a medium you love but don't get a chance to use often in your work?
SV: I'm always looking for brushes that help me refine my artworks and do it more realistically. I always try to improve myself and be more precise.
QK: How long does it take you to complete a project, typically and how do you decide when it is done?
SV: Depends on how many details and characters are in the illustration. Usually, for the sketch, which is the most important phase, I take around 3-4 days of work, then coloring at least another 4-5 days.
QK: Any projects from your portfolio you are especially proud of and would like to share with us?
SV: Not at the moment. I'm working in several projects but are "top secret" for now, but in the future, it will be a pleasure share with you :)
QK: Are there any new projects you're working on that you'd like to share with us?
SV: I started collaborating with some American and English Authors for some internal illustrations for fantasy books.
QK: You have collaborated with several young adult authors. Are there any professional goals that you have not yet reached? What do you see for your future?
SV: In my future, I see a lot of new book cover artwork. I'd also like to work for some studios to create visual development art.
QK: Do you have any advice or insight for illustrators who are trying to break in?
SV: I would recommend what I always say to myself. Always look for new solutions and don't be discouraged. Improve your style always.
We can't wait to see what projects Sara Valente brings to life with Qamber Kids. Keep an eye out for this illustrator, because it's clear she's going places. For more of Sara’s work you can view her portfolio at Qamber Kids, or follow her at the following link: Deviantart Portfolio
If you enjoyed getting to know a bit about Sara and her work and want to show some love for our #IllustratorTeam, please share or comment below.