Q&A with Westboro’s Alice Carter, “chaser of dreams”

By Andrea Tomkins – 

Kitchissippi Times: Let’s get to know you a little bit! Tell about yourself and background.

Alice Carter: I am an artist, illustrator and chaser of dreams. I grew up in Westboro and moved back to the neighbourhood six years ago after spending 15 years in Toronto.  It is very special to watch my daughter grow and play in the same parks I explored during my childhood.

My storytelling career began at the age of  12, when I started a business writing and performing puppet shows with a friend. I have always felt most at home when immersed in creative activities and as long as I can remember I have been drawing and making up stories.

KT: How did you get in to illustration?

AC: Towards the end of high school, my fabulous art teacher, Roberta Huebener, noticed the narrative quality of my artwork and suggested I pursue illustration. I moved to Toronto to study at the Ontario College of Art and Design which gave me the incredible experience of learning surrounded by like-minded students and dedicated professors who were also very accomplished illustrators. This allowed me to devote years exploring and developing my personal style. Upon graduating, several art directors gave me the opportunity to illustrate for many magazines.  Recently my dream of illustrating picture books resurfaced and I decided it was time to focus on making that dream come true. I sent my portfolio out to many children’s publishers and started learning as much as I could about the industry.

Local illustrator, Alice Carter, is launching her picture book, Angus All Aglow (Orca Book Publishers, written by Heather Smith) at Dovercourt Recreation Centre from 2 p.m to 4 p.m. on September 29. See the official Facebook event page for more information.

KT: Tell us about Angus All Aglow.

AC: Angus All Aglow, my first picture book, was released mid-September! It came about when Orca Book Publishers contacted me more than two years ago (children’s books are often years in the making) to see if I would be interested in illustrating a book for them. I did a lot of jumping for joy that day! As I read the manuscript by amazing author Heather Smith, my mind was instantly full of expressive imagery and I knew it was going to be an inspiring and meaningful project. Angus All Aglow tells the story of Angus, a boy who loves sparkly things, and what happens when he decides to wear his grandmother’s bright beaded necklace to school one day. It is a heart-warming story of acceptance and friendship and I am very excited to see it out in the world. Angus All Aglow is available wherever books are sold. If your local book store doesn’t have a copy on their shelves they can easily order one for you. It is also available online directly from the publisher at orcabook.com or anywhere else books are sold online.

KT: Do you have any advice for new and up-and-coming illustrators out there?

AC: My advice is to work hard on a strong portfolio that reflects your unique artistic voice. Try not to worry too much about trends or what you think will sell. If you focus on creating work that feels authentic and meaningful to you, it will come through in the images and will resonate with others.  Choosing illustration as a career is definitely not an easy path but if you really love it and have patience and perseverance it can be extremely rewarding. If you are interested in illustrating for children specifically, I strongly recommend checking out SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), an exceptionally resourceful and supportive organization with a very active Ottawa Chapter. You can find SCBWI online at scbwi.org.

 KT: So what’s next for you?  

AC: Look for a wintery illustration of mine in the December issue of Chirp Magazine. I also have another book coming out in November. Our New Kittens, written by Theo Heras, published by Pajama Press, is a sweet story of two young brothers who adopt two kittens and learn how to take care of them (learn more at pajamapress.ca). I also write and look forward to having stories of my own published. Please visit my imagination at alicecarter.com.

Alice Carter is launching Angus All Aglow (Orca Book Publishers, written by Heather Smith) at Dovercourt Recreation Centre from 2 p.m to 4 p.m. on September 29. See the official Facebook event page for more information.

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