Kim Fernandes - Illustrator

Kim Fernandes

Birthplace?
Long Island, New York, U.S.A.

Birthday?
September 4th.

Where do you live now?
Outside of Toronto, Ontario.

When did you start drawing?
As soon as I could hold a crayon.

How did you get involved with children's books?
I was raised in an atmosphere enriched with creativity. My grandfather, Craig Flessel, is an artist who was involved with the early conception of superheroes and comic books. My mom grew up drawing next to him in his studio and I in turn grew up looking over the shoulders of both my artistic parents. My mom, Eugenie Fernandes, writes and illustrates children's books. My dad, Henry Fernandes, works in animation and has also illustrated books for children. My younger brother Matthew and I were always encouraged to express our artistic talents. My first published book, Visiting Granny, began as a high school project. I created a miniature three-dimensional kitchen using wood, fabric and Fimo. I later wrote an accompanying story based on the wonderful experiences I had in my granny's kitchen. It was published by Annick Press in 1990, when I was 19.

Do you have any tips for young creators?
There is no right or wrong way to draw! Like anything else, the more you practice, the better you get! Have fun!

Do you have any pets?
Yes, a black cat named Suki (Japanese for “I like”), and a white cat named Kisu (Finnish for “kitten”).

What are your hobbies?
Reading, crossword puzzles, interior design, yoga.

What is your favorite food?
Sushi.

What was your training or schooling?
I was educated at the Ontario College of Art from 1989 to 1992.

Do you have a favorite book?
Picture books: Little Bear, by Minarik, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. All of the Dr. Seuss and Richard Scarry books.
Young Adult: The Little House on the Prairie series.
Adult: A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving. Any of James Herriot's books.

What is your favorite movie?
Babe, The Jungle Book, Raising Arizona, Star Wars (which was the first movie I ever saw!).

What is the thing you like the most about creating kids' books?
Being able to work at home, and visiting schools and seeing kids' reactions to my artwork.

Where do you work?
In a small room in my home.

How do you research or create your illustrations?
I go to the library and get lots of visual references to help inspire me. I usually create the layout of an illustration in my mind before falling asleep at night. After my line drawings are done and approved I then turn them into three-dimensional illustrations.

What materials do you work in?
My specialty is creating three-dimensional illustrations using a modeling compound called Fimo (a pliable molding material that you can harden by baking it in an oven).

What's your greatest childhood memory?
Visiting my grandparents on Long Island and going to our cottage (which became our permanent home when I turned 14).

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A vet, a zoologist and an artist.

What's the weirdest or most interesting job you've ever had?
The most interesting (and rewarding) job is being a mom, followed in close second by illustrating kids' books.

Do you have any special secrets or insights about one of your books or characters?
My family members and pets occasionally show up in my illustrations.

One Gray Mouse

1998 - Dimensional Illustrator Award - Bronze Medal, Winner
1997 - National Parenting Publications Award, Runner-up

Sleepy Little Mouse

2001 - Independent Publisher Book Award, Short-listed
2001 - Our Choice, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Winner
2001 - 3 Dimensional and Digital Illustrator Award - Silver Medal, Winner

Picture Books