Can you briefly explain your creative process, favorite mediums, etc?
I work in a variety of media, and I am always tweaking my process a little, but right now I love sketching with watercolor pencils and then painting over top of that with watercolors. The water color pencil does bleed a little but I like a less dark and solid line than pencil or just regular colored pencils provide. Then I like to go back over my paintings with colored pencils, pastel pencils, and sometimes ink. It’s all a mess while I am working on it, but I just have to push past what I call “the ugly stage.” Every piece goes through an ugly stage.
I find my illustration ideas from challenges I give myself. My most recent illustration challenge was: animals and phones. I drew so many different animals talking on a slew of various phones and then I took my favorite sketches to final. You can see some of my favorites from that series up on my website right now (www.margauxmeganck.com).
I find my writing ideas by looking around me, looking at my sketches and seeing what characters or themes pop out to me. And then I write in a journal, a lot, even when I don’t want to, or when I don’t have any ideas, I just write a journal entry from the perspective of a character, or I write a letter to a character, or I imagine a character in a scene and write that scene out. I find it best if I don’t think about the end result. I just use my journal to explore ideas with no objective other than to get to know my characters better. Or to process a thought or feeling I am dealing with. Then often times from that work arises an idea. Which I can then go on and explore more in depth.
How do you deal with creative blocks?
I work through them. Even if what I am writing or illustrating is trash, it has a purpose: to get me to the other side of the block. If you keep writing and drawing something good will come from it eventually.
Who are your illustrator heroes?
Oh, I have so many… The wonderful illustrators in my critique group (Deborah Hocking, Alison Farrell, Tracy Subisak, Meredith Crandall-Brown, Zoey Wagner, and Nicole Roberts) are an endless source of inspiration to me. My heart also skips a beat over the work of Erin Stead, Isabelle Arsenault, Oliver Jeffers, Jon Klassen, Shaun Tan, Barbara Kooney, and Chris Van Allsburg and I could go on forever...
Did you have any favorite children’s books as a child?
Jumanji, by Chris Van Allsburg. I loved the idea of something as innocuous as a board game completely turning a brother and sister’s world upside down. It was magical, scary, and mysterious. With every page turn came a new adventure. Allsburg’s clean and tidy black and white drawings kept a hint of stability and realism throughout story, so no matter how chaotic the story got I always knew we would end up back in reality with both feet on the ground. Also, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig, is heart wrenching and wonderful.
What’s inspiring you and your work right now?
I listen to lots of podcasts while I work, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast about writing and the writing process is really inspiring to me right now. Elizabeth is a very good motivational speaker when it comes to creative pursuits, and one of her episodes from last season inspired the book I am working on right now.
I had had my eye on Danielle when she was still working at Red Fox, but my work wasn’t ready to submit at the time. So when I saw that she was planning on leaving Red Fox to start a new agency, and would be actively seeking new talent I had to finally take the leap. So I did a lot of work on my portfolio, I posted work very actively on social media, and I followed her on instagram. Then I submitted a query letter to her. An acquaintance of mine and a client of hers put in a good word for me. It was shortly after that that we spoke on the phone for the first time and she signed me.
Any words of wisdom you want to share?
I don’t feel wise enough to share words of wisdom. But keep working hard and if you still enjoy the work you are doing you are on the right path.
Thank you, Margaux!
Check out Margaux’s portfolio at www.margauxmeganck.com.