Quarto Kids | 23 June 2021Meet the Author: Nikolas Ilic Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Nikolas Ilic’s First Concepts series features three titles, Animal ABC, Animal Colors, and Animal 123, and Nikolas stops by to talk about his colorful board book trio! Why did you choose to explore primer concepts via silly animals? Was it a conscious decision to also incorporate onomatopoeias as a second layer for learning? I have always been an animal lover and I don’t know what kid doesn’t love seeing animals looking silly! As an artist, drawing characters is something I do for a living so it was a no brainer to base these concepts on fun silly animal characters. In terms of incorporating onomatopoeias, I thought it made a great little bonus especially since the books are for parents and children to read together. Besides, what kid (or parent) doesn’t love making silly animal sounds? Can you tell us a little bit about yourself (career, background)? How did your work contribute to this series? How did you pivot to children’s book illustration? I grew up in a small rural town just outside of Toronto, Canada and now reside in Los Angeles, California. Since I was young I have always enjoyed making art and watching cartoons. It wasn’t until after highschool that I realized I could pursue a career in animation. In 2011, I attended Sheridan College where I received my bachelors degree in Animation. Since graduating I have worked in the children’s animation industry as a character designer and visual development artist. I’ve worked for Netflix, Dreamworks, Illumination and many more. For the past three years I’ve been a freelance artist which has allowed me to also work in children’s publishing. While my animation job lets me work with iconic characters with big personalities. In publishing, I’ve enjoyed developing my individual voice. I love making fun and quirky characters that bring a smile to any kid’s face. Publishing a book is an extremely rewarding job and something that I want to continue with! How do you create your illustrations? I create my illustrations mostly in photoshop from my home studio. Coming from animation, working digitally is what I’m accustomed to. When making book illustrations I first create rough sketches/thumbnails that let me visualize the flow of the book and what the final illustrations and compositions will look like. In the future, illustrating a book traditionally is something I would love to do! What do you do when you’re not writing and illustrating? When I’m not writing and or illustrating I am most likely enjoying the outdoors with my wife and playing with my two dogs! Dogs add so much to your life, especially when working from home. Both me and my wife also love to travel. After Covid, traveling is something that I am very much looking forward to doing again. Traveling and visiting new places is so inspiring. I find it so motivational and enriching to be introduced to new ideas, people and places. What are you working on now? These days I am working on a few projects in animation (sorry, I can’t say what!) but I am also working on my next picture book – it’s about dogs! I’m looking forward to hopefully getting it published as well! About the author: Nikolas Ilic is an Emmy award winning production artist. He specializes in character design, illustration and visual development for the animation industry and children’s books. Born and raised in Canada, Nikolas graduated from Sheridan College in 2011, where he received his Bachelors degree in Animation. Since graduating he has collaborated with Netflix Animation, Warner Animation Group, DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Animation, Illumination Entertainment, Disney TV Animation, Warner Brothers Animation, HarperCollins and Random House among others. He is currently living in Los Angeles, California. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.