Deise (read ‘Daisy’) Lino is a Black Brazilian children’s book illustrator and designer, currently based in Portugal. Deise is the illustrator on Future Hero: Escape from the Clay City’s interior artwork. Filled with action and rich world-building, this high-octane adventure is the third book in a 7+ fantasy series. Today, we’re welcoming Deise to the Storymix blog for a Q&A on her illustrator journey, her process for illustrating children’s books and how she approached working on Future Hero!
How did you become an illustrator?
I have liked drawing since I was a child so it was natural thinking for me to work in the creative field. During my adulthood, I had the chance to experiment with design and animation until I found my calling as an illustrator. Now, I specialize in creating illustrations for books that help bring exciting stories to life.
Which illustrated books did you enjoy as a child? Which Illustrators do you admire as a grown up?
During my childhood, I liked to read Brazilian folk tales, classic fairy tales, and books by famous Brazilian writers, such as Ana Maria Machado and Ruth Rocha. As I grew older, my interest shifted towards mangas (Japanese comics), particularly those that focused on adventure and historical illustrated books such as ancient mythologies. There are many illustrators that I admire, such as Teresa Martinez, Felicita Sala, Zoe Persico, Irena Freitas, Andrew Kolb, and David Sierra. I appreciate the way they conceive colors and compositions while developing narratives.
Now a bit about Future Hero! The series combines futuristic technology and fantasy elements inspired by African mythology. Can you share your process for merging these two distinct visual styles to create a cohesive and engaging visual narrative?
Understanding the references behind a story is vital for me, especially if they are related to something that exists or existed in the real world. To delve deeper into the references and learn from them, I do a lot of research on the internet and other media like books, movies, and comics, which inspire me. When it comes to futuristic elements, I feel very creative and free to experiment with new ideas to make them feel genuine in the fantasy world. Merging various visual styles is like cooking a dish; I experiment and sketch a lot, adding a bit of each design element until I achieve a balanced and cohesive style that reflects both references in the story as one.
Book 3 introduces a new city of clay and a character named Bo-de. How do you research and gather visual references to bring to life these new elements, maintaining consistency with the existing world while infusing your own artistic interpretation?
It is crucial for me to have a clear understanding of the story before beginning research. So when I usually look for visual references I already have something in my mind that helps me to filter what I’m looking for and think it would help to tell the story. This includes specific poses for characters, moods for backgrounds, and overall composition ideas. Combining all these elements together is what ultimately brings out my unique artistic voice.
When illustrating a high-octane adventure like "Future Hero," how do you approach capturing the sense of action and urgency in your artwork, ensuring that readers feel the excitement visually?
I think the readers expect to see dynamic poses and scenes in stories with a lot of action and adventure because this often helps to read visually a description of a high-energy sequence. From a reader's point of view, I try to bring these into the scenes by researching a lot of action poses and composition styles that I think would help to tell the story.
Tell us what else you are working on?
I am currently working on two middle-grade books that feature exciting and adventurous stories filled with action and magic. Additionally, I am also working on a charming picture book with a tender and insightful story. All three books are set to release next year.
Thanks for joining us, Deise! You can check out Deise’s work at deiselino.com or over on Instagram and Twitter @deise_lino. Make sure to follow Storymix on our socials @storymixstudio for more exclusive content with authors and illustrators!
Find all three books in the Future Hero series over at Buy Our Books.