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Interview with Astound’s Diobelle Cerna

Published on 13/12/2022

To celebrate the release of the stunning new title “I Am Okay To Feel“, Astound US Inc chatted with their illustrator Diobelle Cerna. We can’t wait to hear all about this empowering picture book that teaches young readers how to embrace their emotions and anxieties!

Diobelle Cerna, Illustrator

What did you find most enjoyable and rewarding about illustrating “I Am Okay To Feel”?

“I really enjoyed the whole process of illustrating for this book—from character designs, color palettes, experimenting with textures, lighting, and shapes! It’s wonderful to see how the book came together as well. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of this project and it’s rewarding to work on a meaningful book that talks about feelings and emotions—something that can be really helpful to us, especially for children. It is also one of the themes that I deeply care about.”

What was your favorite page to illustrate, and why?

“I enjoyed illustrating the one where Jason and Karamo are dancing at the park! It’s one of the most colorful spreads in the book. I wanted the scene to feel lively and just full of movement and joy. I also love how that page reminded me of happy childhood memories.”

How was it working with the team at Zando and all those involved in bringing this title to life?

“It was so much fun! I am so grateful to have experienced collaborating with Jason, Karamo, the Zando team (esp. Tiffany and Carol), and Christina and Aurora from Astound. They are amazing in their respective fields and I have learned a lot working with them.”

What did you find most challenging about the project?

“I think the most challenging part would be conveying the feelings of the characters through colors, textures, and shapes. I Am Okay to Feel is about embracing our emotions and that was something that I tried to capture and translate into drawings.”

Any takeaways that you’d like to share with budding illustrators or those with dreams of illustrating a children’s picture book?

“I am quite new to illustrating for children’s picture books but what has worked for me is to keep drawing, practicing, and to keep building a good portfolio. I think it is also very helpful to use references, learn from your favorite artists, and set reachable goals. There are also times when illustrating feels mundane and it’s alright to take a break—you can always come back. We all have our own pace and getting good at something takes time. Try to find out what makes drawing fun for you and enjoy the process! Also, celebrate your successes (no matter how big or small!)”

Thank you Diobelle for sharing these wonderful insights into “I Am Okay To Feel”. Grab your copy of this beautiful book today!

The ITSme Society is a collective of top creative agencies that represent award-winning talent worldwide. The ITSme Society agencies represent illustrators and writers across 7 agencies: Advocate Art, Astound US Inc, Illo Agency, Artistique, Yeon, CWLA, and Collaborate.

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