Meet Dover Artist Jessica Mazurkiewicz
Illustrator Jessica Mazurkiewicz has created over 60 books for Dover Publications. Her work includes Creative Haven, Escapes, and compact Bliss titles for adults, as well as coloring and activity books for children. Jessica is both talented as well as dedicated to creating designs to stimulate and please colorists of all ages.
Dover Publications: First things first. What are the names of your cats?
Jessica Mazurkiewicz: My black and white cats are litter mates. The female is named Miki, but I always call her the Mikarina. Her brother is Oscar. My orange tabby is named Peeper because he was on my fire escape peeping in the window. I recently added a dog, a Shiba Inu.
DP: What are the greatest and worst things about living in New York City?
JM: The greatest thing was the variety. It didn’t matter if I wanted to go to a museum, gallery, out to dinner or to see a live show. I miss reading on the subway and being able to access so many places on foot and being able to get any kind of food delivered at any hour. But the smell in the summer is terrible. So many people and animals living in a small area doesn’t equal a good smell.
DP: What do you love about Vermont?
JM: The landscape of Vermont is inspiring. I’m working on a nature themed coloring book right now and most of the inspiration came from plants and animals right in my own backyard.
DP: Could you tell me about some of your artistic influences?
I’m a huge fan of cartoons, especially anime. I’m particularly fascinated by the breathtaking work of Hayao Miyazaki and his depiction of strong female characters. I’m making a lot of food-themed art these days and that’s definitely influenced my fondness for cooking and yummy food in general.
DP: How did you decide to make this your career?
JM: I took every art class possible growing up but it was a homework assignment for my science fiction class that made me decide that I wanted to be an illustrator. My friend wrote a short story and I teamed up with her to create a small book. I was up until the wee hours every night working on it (still a habit!) and I still read lots of books, especially science fiction, whenever possible.
DP: What was your first coloring book for Dover, and could you tell us about your process?
JM: A Coral Reef Stained Glass themed coloring book. I’m the oldest of several sisters and when we were young, I used to make coloring and activity pages for them to color. I would wrack my brain to create something just for them would appeal to their interests and be fun and interesting for them to enjoy. Creating a coloring book is similar but also a challenge because I’m able to make something to share with a much wider audience.
DP: Do you color them yourself before you consider the image complete?
JM: My passion is drawing and creating things to help stimulate creativity and relaxation for other people. These pages aren’t made for me to color, they are made for other people to experience and I consider it collaboration with the colorists to take the art in their own direction and explore the color possibilities. I try my best to make every page unique and special for the color artist. I love seeing how the pages turn out when they have been completed!
DP: How do you design an activity book?
JM: If I’m creating an activity book I will make a long list of the activities right away and then move on to sketching them out. When working on a book like Skyscapes or Floral Designs I’ll draw loose sketches to use as a guide for the page layout and then add detail as I draw on my tablet.
I get so into each project that I’m always a little sad when they end but also excited for the next project and looking forward to seeing the finished product soon and being able to share it with my friends, family and color artists everywhere.