Ashley Dadoun is the wonderfully talented illustrator for my first children’s book, Miss Willow and the Great Fish Mystery. We found each other on DeviantArt and I was charmed by the whimsical nature of her work and the varied display of talent. She was a delight to work with and we worked together through every part of the process from initial sketches, character design, setting development and completed works. I’m pretty in awe of what she’s created, the level of detail is truly amazing.There are individually added stars, hand drawn wood grain, hidden lizards and a plethora of other wonderful details she’s added to the world of Miss Willow. Since the book is the first in a series, you can bet your buttons there will be more of Ashley’s work to be seen soon.

With the introduction of our collaborative project to the world, I thought it would be nice to let everyone get to know Ashley too.

Hi Ashley!

Our book is out in the world, how does it feel?

Ashley: It feels amazing and slightly nerve-wracking.  It’s been a long ride to where we are today.  I just hope other people like it too.

What was your favourite scene to create from Miss Willow and the Great Fish Mystery?

Ashley: That’s a hard one.  I put so much into every page.  If I have to pick one though, it might be the scene where they’re busily preparing their plan.  I thought the kitten helping out was just so cute.  I also really enjoyed drawing the rocks, water, wood panels, and other ambient details.  Otherwise probably the page with the most cats!  So much fun.

How long have you been practicing drawing? What is your favourite art style? Where did you study art?

Ashley: My mom tells me I’ve been drawing since I was three years old.  It’s been a natural impulse for as far back as I remember, you couldn’t ever catch me without a pad of paper and a pen.  Given I’ve been doing for so long, I like to explore many different styles.  I don’t have a favourite, though I’ve always liked the idea of making my own realistic creatures.  I studied illustration at Seneca College in their Independent Illustration course.  The people I met there and the lessons I learned really shaped a big part of my life and career ever after.

What would you like to do for a living? What are your hopes for the future in relation to your art/the books?

Ashley: I like to do whatever I feel I can make a positive impact on people’s lives with.  People respond to art in a way they don’t to anything else.  It means something different to everyone, it can inspire, uplift and educate.  So I hope to continue to do work that helps people in some way.

Anything else you’d like to say or share?

Ashley: I really believe anyone can learn to draw given time and effort and a volume of art pieces.  Learning is a lifelong endeavour.  If you want to paint, go for it.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, especially at the beginning.  So long as you have fun, it’s worthwhile.

I hope you guys enjoyed getting to know Ashley a little. I’m so excited for the next book we’re working on together!

Thanks for stopping by!

-Erin