Love Your Amazing Self: An Interview with Ndubisi Okoye

Storey acquisitions editor Liz Bevilacqua and Ndubisi Okoye, the illustrator of Love Your Amazing Self, discuss inspiration, patience, and the importance of loving yourself!

LIZ: When did you begin drawing?

NDUBISI: I’ve always been drawing as far back as I can remember. It’s been a long and beautiful journey.

LIZ: Where do you get inspiration?

NDUBISI: I get inspired by everything, literally, the way God arranges the clouds in the sky, a beautiful chord progression in a song, or something as simple as the smile on my daughter’s face inspires me. I save and savor those moments as best as I can.

Love Your Amazing Self Illustrator Ndubisi Okoye in his studio.

LIZ: How does working on a kids’ book differ from some of the other kinds of art you make?

NDUBISI: Working on a children’s book is similar because I follow the same design process. Which is conceptual sketch, refinement, color, and then finalize the art. It’s different because the process has many more rounds of revisions in a short period of time. It’s also different because those final illustrations live forever in a book that’s shipped around the world, which is kind of crazy to think about.

LIZ: Did you always want to be an artist?

NDUBISI: I knew I wanted to be creative. I don’t call myself an artist because I don’t think it fits me. I work in a bunch of mediums and disciplines creatively. I draw, write poetry, paint, paint murals, design, and many more things. I lean more towards the term creative as a title because I think it fits me better.

LIZ: What do you hope kids will feel when they see your images in this book?

NDUBISI: I hope that kids feel a sense of joy, excitement, and curiosity. I want their excitement to make them want to read the book or have their parents read it to them. I hope that then leads them to become curious about who made the book and find me and the author Ofosu Jones-Quartey, and from there, I hope their discovery of us brings them joy.

LIZ: What advice would you offer young people who want to get into a creative field?

NDUBISI: I would say to jump in. If you want to be creative, go for it and keep at it for a long time. To build a sustainable career takes a long time but it is worthwhile. Also, don’t believe anyone that says you can’t—even if it’s you.

LIZ: What are some things you love about your amazing self?

NDUBISI: I love my Blackness. I love my motivation to inspire youth to do something dope today. I love the fact that I created art that will touch the hearts of many. I love that I am amazing. I love that I am enough. I love that this book that I helped create is something I can share with my daughter.

Photos © Ndubisi Okoye.

Liz Bevilacqua

Liz Bevilacqua is an acquisitions editor at Storey where she works on books about creativity, mindfulness, wellness, herbalism, crafts, health, mind-body-spirit, and more. When not… See Bio

Ndubisi Okoye

Ndubisi Okoye is a multidisciplinary creative with a passion for art and design that tells a story. A graduate of the College for Creative Studies,… See Bio

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