Tia Bourne Mushka: An Illustrator Going Places

© Tia Mushka

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing my talented friend Tia Bourne Mushka, who I met through the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program. She was in the program being mentored in writing, but she is also a children's illustrator. 

She is running an Indiegogo campaign to help fund some illustration goals: to get to the New York SCBWI annual meeting and to run a promotional campaign to support an Illustration Studio. I am really excited about it because she is both talented and deserving of support. Check out the link to it at the bottom of this interview.

Tell us about your background and how you came to children's illustration.

I have a background in Fine Arts, which I studied at university. I decided I wanted to be in illustrator when I had my own children and fell in love with the picture books I was reading to them. I was especially influenced by Jane Ray and Melissa Sweet.

© Tia Mushka

What projects are you working on these days?

Right now I am working on some illustrations that go with my latest story I am writing. I don't know if they will be used with the story, but they certainly help me to see the story better myself. I also am meeting with a publisher tomorrow about illustrating a lullaby baby board book. I hope the outcome is positive!

© Tia Mushka

I met you through the Nevada SCBWI program. How has your mentorship influenced your work?

My mentorship with Jim Averbeck was an amazing experience. We worked mostly on the writing end of children's literature, but he did critique my portfolio for me and pushed me to use my imagination and creativity.

I love the personal maps you are working on. What inspired you to do this? What is the most fun part of doing them?

I've always been obsessed with maps, and traveling. I found a book about making personal maps and wanted to try some of my own. I just love when I book has a map in the front of it, like the Hobbit. Making personal maps brings back all the excitement I felt when on a journey, or my childhood. I feel like I can better hold the memories I have in my head.

© Tia Mushka

I am a huge map fan too, and I’m glad one of your Indiegogo rewards is a personal map. What gave you the idea to do an Indiegogo campaign?

I was joking one day on Facebook about having someone pay for my trip to the SCBWI LA Conference last summer. One of my old roomates facebooked me that she had a friend who went to an illustrating conference after starting an indiegogo campaign to raise the funds. I thought if she could do it, then so could I!

© Tia Mushka

Any words of advice to other writers and illustrators?

Words of advice? That's hard. Go to conferences! Really. I got a critique at a conference that was brutal. I went home and threw everything in my portfolio away and started from scratch. It was the best thing I ever did!

Thanks, Tia for stopping by with your beautiful illustrations. And now, here is a link to her Indiegogo campaign:

Tia, in her own words:

I am a writer, illustrator, artist and mapmaker living in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada. My childhood was spent surrounded by trees, tall grass and fireflies in rural Ontario. Now I am surrounded by the ocean. I studied fine art, and briefly geology at Brigham Young University where I graduated with a BFA in sculpture. Taking these two loves, I travelled to Pietra Santa, Italy where I learned how to carve stone. I started writing and drawing for children when I had my own family and fell in love with children's literature I recently completed the prestigious SCBWI Nevada Mentorship program with the amazing Jim Averbeck as my mentor. My current project is an illustrated Young Adult novel, although a paintbrush and watercolour is never far away.

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