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  • Writer's pictureMary Boone

Six Questions with Estrela Lourenco

Originally from Portugal, Estrela Lourenco has been living in Ireland since 2009.

For 14 years she has worked in the animation industry in positions such as animator, animation director and storyboard artist for shows like "The Amazing World of Gumball" for Cartoon Network and “Wander Over Yonder” for Disney XD.

In 2019, she started working full time at her dream job: children's books author and illustrator. She has worked on many exciting stories by other authors. Her debut picture book as an author and illustrator, Walkies - A Dog’s Tale, releases from Page Street Kids in May 2024. Visit Estrela's website to learn more about her and her work.


1. When did you first realize you wanted to write for young readers?

I was first found by my amazing agent James McGowan at Bookends Literary on Instagram, as I posted all my illustrations with the hashtag #kidlitart. I really wanted to first become a children’s book illustrator and help other authors tell their stories while using my art. When my agent asked me what stories would I also like to tell, I was caught by surprise. I didn’t think someone would be interested in my stories, or that I would have the capacity to do it. I accepted this as an exciting challenge - I put together what I had learn about story structure in my career as a Storyboard Artist for animation with more learning and started to brainstorm ideas. I was hooked to the idea of writing for young readers from that moment.

 

2. To what extent is your writing inspired by your own experience, or by watching your children’s experiences?

 My writing has been fully inspired by my experiences with my daughter, my dog and childhood memories. I also can’t but be inspired by the books we read together at night and by the crazy and funny moments we have as a family. We are a very silly group of people. One of the books I have on submission is fully inspired by a funny bedtime moment between me and my energetic toddler and my debut picture book “Walkies – A Dog’s Tail” was inspired by a walk with my biggest hiking companion, my dog Chewie.

 

3. What’s the best piece of advice a mentor has given you?

I had an art teacher in school who told us on the very first class “Draw, draw, draw, and fall asleep thinking of drawing. That’s how you will stand out and improve as an artist.” He was also very encouraging of any personal projects we had going on outside the school curriculum and that was a big motivation for me to keep going and knowing I was on the right track. I can’t thank him enough.

Another phrase I heard and stuck with me was “Finished, not Perfect” by Jake Parker (the creator of the art challenge Inktober) and it was about be able to finish any projects we have in our heads, instead of working and reworking them to a perfection we might see was flawed in the near future. It is better to have projects finished and out in the world, than a drawer full of ideas that never got seen and critiqued by anyone, because this is the best way to grow as a creator.

 

4. Where did you get the idea for Walkies - A Dog’s Tale? What was your inspiration?

I got the idea for this book while walking my dog Chewie in our local park. I was having a bad day and was in a terrible mood, which is surprising as I was in my lunch break from the SCBWI 2021 Virtual Winter Conference. I can’t remember exactly what was bothering me so much but as I continued our walk, I started slowing down my thoughts, started looking around nature and at my dog Chewie, and started to calm down and feeling better. As I came back home from that walk, I felt a lot better and I had a picture book idea to work on.

 

5. If you read this book to a room filled with kids, what message would you want them to leave with?

I would love kids to have fun and laugh with this book, and if possible, remember to enjoy slowing down and taking time to be with their family and pets (if they have one), specially outdoors in nature where they can find some inner peace and mindfulness. Life can be so full of love and silliness when spent fully with the ones closest to ones – away from life distractions and sometimes, noisy technology.

 

6. Who should read this book?

Children and their family, including older people. As an adult, I needed to be reminded by that walk that I too, needed to slow down and enjoy the moment. Specially in these days where we are always with our eyes looking at some kind of screen, I would love to remember to look away and enjoy the here and now, especially with loved ones.


The Six Questions blog has openings beginning in late 2024. If you're a traditionally published middle-grade or picture book creator and would like to be featured, message mary@boonewrites.com

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