You’ve met Calm the F*ck Down author David Vienna, but now it’s time to shine the spotlight on the book’s fantastic illustrator: Erica Salcedo! Hailing from the quaint town of Cuenca, Spain, Erica got her start at Castilla-La Mancha University studying fine arts and later received her master’s degree in graphic design and illustration at the Polytechnic University of Valencia.
Her work is focused on children’s illustrations so she uses her love for animals as inspiration to create her one-of-a-kind characters. Currently preparing a picture book due out in the beginning of 2016 for Bloomsbury UK, she also illustrated the young fiction novel, The Mosquito Brothers, for Groundwood books that will come out this month. Get to know more about Erica with this fun Q&A!
1. Where do you find inspiration for your drawings? Does living in Spain influence your creative process at all? For me, inspiration can come from any situation: a person that dresses extraordinary on the street, a conversation, and of course, from animals as well. I like to imagine the kind of personality each and every dog could have in my neighborhood. Hehe. You need to have your eyes wide open!
2. Favorites hobbies outside of drawing? At the moment, I don’t have much time for anything. However, when I do have some free time, I like to go for a walk in the forest or crochet (like a granny)—it’s very relaxing! I’m also very passionate about watching TV. Some of my favorite TV shows are “Sherlock,” “The Walking Dead,” “American Horror Story,” “The Leftovers,” “Girls,” and “Orange is the New Black.”
3. You incorporate animals into many of your illustrations. If you could be any animal, what would you be? It’s true. I love to draw animals. If I could choose, it would be the only thing that I would draw. I have a predilection for foxes and wolves, so maybe I could be a fox. It’s an animal that reminds me of my childhood, but I can’t deny that my other half is a sloth—I love to sleep.
4. How was it illustrating Calm the F*ck Down and which is your favorite drawing in the book? (If you have more than one, that’s okay too!) It was great! I liked the book proposal as soon I got it in my hands. At first glance, I understood the humor of the book. I love and always try to put a pinch of humor in my illustrations, so the book fit like a glove to me. A big point for me was if I could make the characters in the book appear as animals. And I like to put a lot of detail in my illustrations, so one of my favorites is the “Travel with Kids” illustration.
5. What’s your favorite Knock Knock product and why (other than Calm the F*ck Down, of course)? I try to be an organized person so the 5 Days a Week Paper Mousepad is a must for me.
6. How did you get your start? Is there any advice you would like to share with aspiring illustrators out there? It was so clear to me that I was going to be an illustrator. I started with small jobs, even jobs that have nothing to do with illustration (like graphic design), and was persistent and patient. Bit by bit more jobs came and today, I’m very lucky that I work full-time as an illustrator.
My advice: at the beginning, accept all the jobs that come your way and be persistent. Make your own illustrations and use the internet and social media to network and get clients—self-promotion is key.
7. What are 5 things on your bucket list right now? My life is always on the fly so I don’t have concrete goals, but one thing that’s always on my mind is to travel more. I would love to visit Japan.