Friday, August 19, 2016

Illustrator Interview: Ms. Jia Rubio-Montserrat

Back in May 2016, the blog featured Ma. Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag as its author of the month. Her book, Mommy Loves You Just the Same, was launched and was reviewed on the blog that same month. And now, the illustrator of Mommy Loves You Just Same, Ms. Jia Rubio Montserrat, shares with us her experience of illustrating  a children's book in digital format.

1. Where did you get the inspiration to draw the little boy in the story? He looks, smart, makulit and cute at the same time. Typical kid!

One of my inspirations for the little boy is actually Teresa's 2 older sons. They do look smart, makulit and cute. I don't know them personally though, and I don't have a little boy of my own yet, but I do have a sweet little girl. I am also inspired by her who loves music, who is always playful, curious and as much as she could, she would try to give a helping hand. She is going to be a big sister soon at the age of 2. 

2. Mommy Loves You Just the Same is your first illustrated story book for kids. How did you approach the visual narrative of the story as a whole? Was there a meeting with Ms. Dumadag before and after production? You can describe your process, your medium and the experience of working with the author.

Teresa and I met in South PiNanay's anniversary celebration on October 2015. She was promoting her book and she delivered a talk about Hands-On-Parenting. I was there because my commissioned paintings about breastfeeding were on display. I was able to chat with her because I find her inspiring in the way she is juggling her career on the side of taking care of her kids. And she asked me for the possibility for us to collaborate and told me about the story that she wrote. That made me excited because I've always wanted to illustrate a book. And I even shared with her that my husband and I were praying for baby number 2 and it would be more meaningful for me to do it if ever I get pregnant again.

Months came, God answered my prayer. I found out I was pregnant on New Year's eve and gladly announced it on Facebook. Teresa immediately sent me the story of Mommy Loves You Just the Same and asked me if I could do the illustrations. Though I have lots of things at hand, I couldn't say no because it was really timely for me. 

I made a few sketches. Teresa and I agreed right away on how we want the illustrations to be. It has to be warm and full of love. And that is how it came to be. We agreed right away because I guess that is what mothers feel in general when they're expecting another child. 

It was a fun learning experience. I hope we can have more projects like it soon. And I hope we'll be able to see each other again soon. We haven't met again since the time we first met. We're busy work-at-home-moms.  

3. Being a mother too, what can you share with other mom's that will help them be more confident and adept at parenting?

Coming from a very career-driven singlehood, I can be very impatient with myself in accomplishing things and it often reflects on my little one. She tends to be fussy, clingy, and she even gets sick when I am too overwhelmed & preoccupied with my to-do-list. When she is like that, I know that she needs her mother. And because of that, I am trying to learn the art of being patient with myself, to accept that I am not perfect, but I am trying my best to be perfect, to let go, and take just one step at a time. Because I am mother above all else. Like they said, our children are the most important work. And it is very important for all parents to know that. They're only little once.

4. After Mommy Loves You Just the Same, where do you see yourself heading to? Any projects you want to pursue or current works you wish to promote?

I am currently helping in setting up our family's food businesses, Bertie's Artisan Bakeshop (which was established since 1998 but we just relocated starting this year. It is located at Bucal Bypass Road, Calamba) and DataBites (A Gaming Lounge Cafe opening this July in UP Los Banos). I am also helping with LATCH Los Banos activities as a LATCH peer counselor.

For now, I am trying to slow down because I'll be giving birth soon. It would be my season to welcome and nurture our newest family member. And when I already can, I hope to launch my mommy artist website/blogsite soon to further establish my art career. I am currently trying to build-up a collection of artworks on parenting entitled "Gintong Pag-ibig" for a possible solo exhibit.

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