Overcoming Doubt to become a Children’s Book Illustrator with Gabriela Dieppa

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PIRATES STUCK AT “C” the first book from BiblioKid Publishing sets sail today! To celebrate the launch, debut children’s book illustrator, Gabriela Dieppa, sat down to chat with me about her new book.

Becoming a children’s book illustrator is a long, winding journey, much like becoming a children’s book writer. Read the full interview below and learn the path Gaby took to illustrate her first book!

Becoming a Children's Book Illustrator with Gabriela Dieppa

Pirates Stuck at “C” is now available through BiblioKid Publishing, or online wherever books are sold.

Full Interview with New Children’s Book Illustrator Gabriela Dieppa:

Congratulations on your first children’s book! Tell us a little bit about PIRATES STUCK AT “C”. 

Pirates Stuck at “C” is an experience! It’s like graphic eye candy for children (or at least that was my intention). When reading the book, readers take part in the adventures of a group of pirates who enjoy being themselves. The pirates explore an island and find many things along the way to their ultimate goal: treasure! Along with the fun things the reader is seeing, they’re also learning their letters.

When you first got the manuscript, how did you come up with the inspiration for the pirates?

The first time I heard about a book of pirates from Brooke, my mind started to imagine the ideal pirate. When she sent the manuscript, I had such a precise idea of what I wanted. It just came naturally to me!

Captain Scallywag was already in my mind. I just had to put it on paper and later on my computer screen! 

Pirates Stuck at "C" by Gabriela Dieppa & Brooke Van Sickle
Gaby’s amazing cover art for Pirates Stuck at “C”.

This is your debut picture book as an illustrator, which is always exciting! What made you decide to illustrate for the children’s market?

It’s in fact very exciting! 😆

It all started when I was a little child. My parents usually bought me interactive books for Windows 95 and it was my fascination to learn and play with those books. Later when I grew up and started my graphic design career, I remembered those interactive books and realized that I could make children’s books too!

It was a kind of magical revelation to me because now I wanted to recreate that fascination for other children. It gave my life a purpose. 

What kind of training or experience did you do before that helped with your illustrations?

I studied a graphic design career where I had my formation as a visual artist. I also did illustrations all the time as a hobby. Later, I found a job that was kind of commercial illustration and I had to draw almost every single day, so that served me as an illustration intensive!   

What was one major thing you learned during this process?

That I can do it!!

At first, I saw it like a super abstract idea. I doubted myself all the time but then everything worked so well. It worked because I believed in my potential and so did Brooke. Oh and very important: I also learned that the layout must work with the illustration from the beginning, from the first sketch! That’s super important. 

Was there anything that was unexpected as you illustrated this book? 

Well, I didn’t know that making an Epub had so many considerations to be aware of. Now I feel like I want to know more about it.

What was your favorite part about creating the illustrations for this book?

It was the freedom to create everything that came out of my heart. I also felt that Brooke and I made a great team! 

What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your publishing journey?

The fear of failure. Definitely!

There is some kind of fear that doesn’t let us move forward for some reason. To take a step to achieve your dreams is like winning the battle against our fears. 😍

Get the free children's book template here

Do you have any other books you’re working on right now?

Yes! I’m currently writing a book that I want to illustrate myself. Right now, it’s only a sketch but I’ve decided to take it forward. It’s about a child who discovers that everything is connected to the universe without stepping out of his house.

And finally, what’s the best advice you can give someone who’s hoping to become a children’s book illustrator?

Believe in yourself! Take a step forward, show your work, and introduce yourself. Don’t wait until you have all the tools, the perfect technique, the perfect portfolio, or the best curriculum. Those are only excuses.

If you want to illustrate a book, do it! At least one page to prove to yourself you can. And most importantly, always stay true to yourself. 

Thank you so much to Gabriela Dieppa! It was so inspiring hearing her story and makes you want to rush out and start drawing. 🥰 If you’d like to learn more about Gaby, you can follow her on Instagram @gaby_dieppa or visit her website here.

PIRATES STUCK AT “C” is now available to purchase everywhere! Pick up your copy on our website and I’ll be sure to send you an autographed copy. Just note who to make it to in the description. (Place your order here.)

And for this week only, to celebrate the launch, we’re giving away ONE FREE SIGNED COPY to a lucky reader. Simply comment below to enter. I’ll draw the winner’s name on March 3rd. Good luck!

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