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Valuable Tips for Artists/Illustrators from Aidana WillowRaven

Aidana WillowRaven

Aidana WillowRaven, Cover Artist/Illustrator/Graphic Designer

Copyright 2016 Aidana WillowRaven and 4RV Publishing

Copyright 2016 Aidana WillowRaven and 4RV Publishing

“Valuable Tips for Artists/Illustrators from Aidana WillowRaven” by Joan Y. Edwards

Thank you, Aidana for doing the cover for Joan’s Elder Care Guide published by 4RV Publishing on April 15, 2016, for sharing it on your website, blog, and social media. I am honored that you agreed to let me interview you for my blog. 

You’re welcome, Joan. I’m looking forward to it.

Let’s get started.

  1. Where were you born? Harlingen, Texas, USA
  2. Where was your favorite place to live as a child? Why? That one is really hard to say because everywhere I lived had it’s own influence on me as a person and eventual artist.
  3. Did you have a favorite place to draw as a child? Where and why? I rarely drew as a child. I wasn’t good at it so usually quit in frustration. 
  4. Where is your favorite place to draw now? My favorite places change depending on my mood, but it’s also a convenience issue.
  5. How do you keep yourself physically fit? Me? Fit? I love your sense of humor.
  6. What do you do when you think about giving up? I don’t. I have a big stubborn streak, lol.
  7. If you go to an amusement park, which ride do you go to first? Which ride do you ignore at all costs? Rollercoaster!!! I like water rides, too. Anything fast is fun, but I even enjoy monorails and slower activities.
  8. Would you share 3 covers that you designed? It’s hard to pick a favorite, especially since I work with so many genres, but here are three more recent favorites for three different genres:
    Weaver of Dreams Cover by Aidana WillowRaven

    Weaver of Dreams Cover
    by Aidana WillowRaven


    A Family for Leona Cover 9000841

    A Family for Leona Cover by Aidana WillowRaven (4RV Publishing)


    Honourable Lies Cover by Aidana WillowRaven

    Honourable Lies Cover by Aidana WillowRaven

    Weaver of Dreams, A Family for Leona, and Honourable Lies. Your covers are amazing.

  9. What is your favorite novel? Why? Again, with the impossible questions, lol. I’m going to have to go with a favorite series rather than a single book. I think I’ve reread the entire Wheel of Time series, by Robert Jordan, more than any of my other books in my library.
  10. What is your favorite picture book? That’s easy … Alice in Wonderland
  11. Do you set goals for yourself as an artist/illustrator? Do you reward yourself when you reach them?  Goal? Yes. Rewards? Who has time? I just keep going. lol
  12. What are three craft books about drawing and illustrating that you recommend for study by other artists/illustrators? That really depends on what genre and style one’s goal is as an artist. For me, I study anything Michael Whelan does. I also study the works of Todd Lockwood and Frank Frazetta and too many others to list. I don’t want to limit anyone to any three books, though. I study all I can from many genres and styles. I even take pictures of book covers I like at the grocery store to study later, lol.
  13. Where is your favorite place to visit? Why? Downtown Memphis. There is such a vibe that I’ve never felt anywhere else I’ve lived or visited. That same vibe is probably why there are so many songs written about it, too. But even the swamps in Memphis have a wonderful mystique.
  14. Did they have art courses when you were in High School? We had one art class a week, which I all but failed. The art teacher told me, in front of the entire class, that I had no talent and apparently art was not my ‘thing’, lol. In my art teacher’s defense, my Mom said pretty much the same thing, and even my best friends in high school, reuniting with me decades later via Facebook, were all like, “Sooo… Where did this art thing come from?” As a result, I don’t believe in abstract terms like ‘talent’. I believe in drive, determination, training, and skill, which anyone can acquire when the first three are part of the recipe. I like that you believe in drive, determination, training, and skill rather than being born with the talent. I admire you and your determination to be an artist.
  15. When did you decide to become an illustrator? Why? After my second failed marriage, I was really into epic fantasy books and found myself fascinated with the cover art. I started recreating book covers with visuals I felt better portrayed the stories. Next thing you know, I was standing at a college registrar’s office wondering what major to study, and the only thing I could think of was wanting to create book cover art. Floored EVERYONE who knew me that I chose to study fine art.
  16. Who or what has been the most help and inspiration to you as an illustrator? Michael Whelan
  17. Where do you get your ideas for your illustrations? The books, music, movies, everything … lol.
  18. What are you illustrating now? I keep several projects going at once, so that’s hard to answer.
  19. What has been your most exhilarating moment as an artist/illustrator? When Michael Whelan, my idol, actually responded to one of my tweets, lol. I know that made your day.
  20. Does research help your illustrations? How? Absolutely. I like to be as accurate as possible. One time, I even found a discrepancy within the text that contradicted the period and culture. The author and publisher made the necessary correction to the text. 😀 They were lucky to have you working on this project for them.
  21. What are your top ten tips for illustrators? Study, Study, Study, Draw, Draw, Draw, Paint, Paint, Paint … repeat 😀 
  22. What are three marketing tips for illustrators? Get used to talking about your work on social media. Also, never give up. Keep looking until you find your place.

Connect with Aidana through links on her website:  http://willowraven.weebly.com  

Aidana’s Blog: http://aidana.willowravenblog.com


Aidana WillowRaven, tradigital artist (hybrid artist who combines traditional training and techniques with digital tools and applications) and mother of three, trained in Fine Art, Studio Design, and Animation at NSU and ODU. WillowRaven works with traditional publishers, as well as, independent authors. In addition to her freelance business, she’s Art Director and VP of Operations at 4RV Publishing.

Working in most genres, from picture books to novels, she has illustrated and/or designed over 500 books and ebooks since 2007 through her company, WillowRaven Illustration & Design Plus, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Thank you again, Aidana, for letting me interview you for my blog. You are amazing!

Believe in You
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

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23 Responses

  1. Aidana,
    I love that you work in many genres and see any place as a potential location for working on your art. You have drive and are flexible, which leads to productivity and success! So glad you found your passion. Keep it up!


    • Thank you, Linda. I’m still amazed I get paid to do this, lol.


    • Dear Linda,
      Thank you very much for writing. You are right. Aidana has drive and flexibility which leads her to productivity and success!

      Believe in you.
      Never Give Up


  2. Joan, great interview. Aidana, so nice to learn more about you. So often we limit our expectations of ourselves when we are really capable of so much more.


    • I find most people have a tendency to underestimate themselves, including myself. I agree, we are all capable of more.


    • Dear Margaret,
      Thank you for writing. It’s good to hear from you. I’m glad you enjoyed Aidana’s interview. You’re right. We are often capable of doing much more than we expect.

      Believe in you.
      Never Give Up


  3. What beautiful artwork! I am always in awe of those who create such wonderful art.


    • Thank you 😀


    • Dear Susan,
      Thank you for writing. You are right. Aidana’s artwork is indeed beautiful. I hope you’ll check out her website and follow her on Twitter. I hope you’ll come back to visit my blog again soon.

      Believe in You
      Never Give Up


  4. Great interview, Joan and Aidana!


    • Thanks, Karen 😀


      • Sorry, Karin. … KAREN is the next comment, lol. Ugh!


    • Dear Karin Lawson,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad you enjoyed my interview with Aidana. She is a very talented lady. I hope you’ll come back and visit my blog soon.

      Believe in you.
      Never Give Up


  5. Great interview, Ladies! Learning that Aidana didn’t start out being into art is very interesting. And, I love that she associates success with drive, determination, training, and skill.


    • Thanks, Karen. And I always loved art, just never saw myself creating art. Then, suddenly, I did. 😀


    • Dear Karen,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad you enjoyed Aidana’s interview. It’ is truly inspirational that she associates success with drive, determination, training, and skill.

      Believe in You
      Never Give Up


  6. Dear Aidana,
    Thank you for letting me interview you for my blog. Thank you for reading my blog and for following me on Facebook &Twitter. Thank you for helping me promote Joan’s Elder Care Guide. I appreciate the love and skill you put into creating the cover for it and the formatting of it. You are a very talented lady.

    Take time today to celebrate you and all you do to help me and others.
    Believe in you.
    Never Give Up


    • My pleasure. Hope the book does really well. 😀


      • Dear Aidana,
        Thank you very much for your wishes for Joan’s Elder Care Guide to sell well!



  7. Hi Aidana! I love hearing how your “talent” (at the risk of using that word… 🙂 came along later in life. My stepdaughter is the same. Honestly, she never seemed to have any art ability until, suddenly out of the blue, she did! I remember coming home one day and seeing this incredible drawing and asking, “Who drew that?” When she said, “I did.” I said, “No, really, who drew it?” Reading your story and hearing about your hard work and determination is inspiring. I’m going to share this interview with my stepdaughter. She so wants to pursue a career in art, and I think your story will motivate her. Your work is beautiful! 🙂


    • That is such a wonderful compliment. Thank you so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great interview, Joan! On a side note, I’m reading your book now and will be writing up a review soon. What a helpful guide for families!


    • Dear Shawn,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad you enjoyed the interview with Aidana. She’s a great inspiration to artists young and old, isn’t she? Thank you for reading “Joan’s Elder Care Guide.” I look forward to reading your review.

      Never Give Up


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