Author & Illustrator Aleesa McCarthy
Welcome to a new series that will appear on the blog from time to time- Author and Illustrator Interviews! I’m happy to be able to chat with some wonderful Catholic creatives, and bring their journeys to you!
Hi Aleesa! I’m so excited to have you here as our first interviewed guest! Please tell us about yourself and how your Catholic faith influences what you do.
My faith is an integral part of who I am as a wife, mother, and creative. I ask God to inspire my work so it blesses others. Right now I'm living with my family in Alaska and loving life here, the beauty of this place inspires me to be creative.
So, what drove you to decide to do Catholic children’s literature?
Well, when my children were little I had a hard time finding any cute Catholic resources for them. So I just started illustrating some myself! Of course now there are so many wonderful Catholic children's resources out there and that is very exciting and delightful to see.
What surprised you most about the publication process?
Well I had no idea it was so easy in some ways and challenging at the same time in others to self publish! I wrote my Saints and Blessed from A to Z book and it sat around for so long on my computer and so did my Preschool Practice Book. I was waiting until I had money to order a run of printed books. Then I had the trouble of trying to sell them all. It was a stressful challenge. Then one fateful day I learned that I could self publish through Amazon and just print on demand without any upfront cost.
How did you decide to do Children’s Rosary books?
We pray the rosary nightly as a family. I have always wanted to illustrate a rosary book, but I never had the time to sit down and illustrate 20 mysteries at once and put it all together. The scenes are a little more complicated than just illustrating one lone little saint. So, I have been working on a set of mysteries here and there over the years and I finally completed them all. It was high time for a book. I almost gave up after completing the manuscript in February because I had such technical difficulties uploading my files to the printer that I walked away from it until June! There are times you just have to step away if something is not working and wait on God's timing.
Of all of the books you have done, which did you find the most challenging?
The most challenging was the Preschool Practice Book because it included a saint for each letter of the alphabet and then I wanted to include workbook pages for numbers, shapes, and some coloring pages.
What illustration medium(s) do you use?
I mostly use my iPad or computer to illustrate all of the My Little Patron images. Sometimes the little saints start out as sketches on paper if I have an idea I want to get out when the technology isn't handy. I love watercoloring and using acrylic for other art and illustrations, but these adorable saints are illustrated mostly on the computer with multiple vector shape layers.
Do you enjoy writing or illustrating more?
Right now the creative process of illustrating comes easier to me. Before children when I had more time I loved to write poetry and rhymes but for me that takes much more time. I do enjoy telling stories immensely and so maybe later in life that is something I could incorporate more of.
What are your favorite subjects to illustrate?
I really do love creating these adorable saints! I love to read about the life of a saint and then figure out ways to include little details of their lives. When it all comes together and I can look and see just by the little details that it is saint so and so, I get very excited.
Who inspires you in your art?
I'd have to say firstly, the Holy Spirit and then there are many creative people who have inspired me in my life. My grandfather, aunts, and mother were all very artistic and creative influences on me growing up.
What are you working on now?
I've had in the works for a couple years a sort of Royal Saints for Girls Birthday Party Book that you can cut out invitations, games, and party decorations from. It's on my summer to-do list for polishing up. I'm also working on second volumes for the Saints for Girls and Saints for Boys coloring books.
Fun! We look forward to your future projects. Where can people find you?
My Website is www.mylittlepatron.com and you can find me on instagram and facebook @mylittlepatron. All of my printed books are available on Amazon, the books and more are also available as PDFs for purchase on Etsy. Quick links to find where you can purchase those and the adorable saints printed in holy cards or pillowcases can be found here https://linktr.ee/mylittlepatron
Thank you Aleesa! To find the book reviews of Aleesa’s latest works, please check out this blog post here.
Stay tuned y’all for more author and illustrator interviews in the weeks to come! I plan on always having a weekly book review, but these interviews will be bonus content. :)