Blythe Russo is an author/illustrator living and working just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. When she isn’t busy making books, she spends her time sewing, baking, and undertaking all sorts of other creative projects. She holds an MFA in Illustration and doesn’t have a dog. Yet.
Tell us about the illustration process for A Flood of Kindness. It’s a serious, and beautiful, book. How did you convey emotions in your illustrations to help move the story forward?
I did all the line art with pencil on sketchbook paper and then separately painted everything with loose washes of watercolor on cold-press paper. All the art was then scanned and put together in Photoshop. There was a lot of sadness, fear, and grief expressed in the characters throughout the book, especially the main character Charlotte. In order to mirror that in the illustrations, the majority were done in grayscale. However, as the story progressed to include increased acts of kindness, I added splashes of more saturated color to show the spread of hope throughout Charlotte and her community.
What was the hardest part of illustrating the book? The best part?
The hardest part was that I’ve never illustrated a book during a global pandemic before? All joking aside, I think I felt the seriousness of the tone more so than I would have if I’d been working on this book last year. I’m used to illustrating more joyous stories, so I think it was difficult for me not to draw very many smiles. The best part of working on this book was how much it pushed me as an illustrator. I grew a lot as an artist during the process.
Can you tell us about some of the other illustration projects you’ve worked on?
My debut as illustrator, One More Wheel (OddDot) written by Colleen AF Venable, came out August of last year. I have also done work for Highlights, W.H. Sadlier, and SCBWI, to name a few.
My next project is actually my debut as an author/illustrator, which is very exciting! Sloth Sleeps Over(Viking) comes out Spring/Summer 2022. After that, nothing planned yet, but I have a lot of ideas, so fingers crossed!
Just for fun: What are you looking forward to most this fall season?
Fall holidays are the best. I love getting spoopy and watching Halloween movies while bundled up in cozy oversized sweaters. And blankets. Lots of blankets.
Where can our readers find out more about you?
On Instagram and Twitter, you can find me @blythe_russo