1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
My name is Alona Millgram and I’m an Israeli illustrator. As a child, I was kind of a bookworm and fascinated by books in general, but mostly by illustrated books and covers. My dream was to be an illustrator (not the most common dream for a 5 year old, most kids didn’t relate). Surprisingly this wish didn’t fade away and when I turned 22 I decided to check if I was any good and to apply for an art school. I was doubtful whether it was not just a hobby, but throughout my studies, I discovered how passionate I was about illustration and that it is what I want to do with my life. After my studies, I moved to the center of Israel with my husband and I have since been working as a freelance illustrator.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
My illustrations are colorful and full of details. I tend to create other tiny stories within the illustration that accompany the main one.
3. What is your favorite medium and why?
My favorite is a standard 2b pencil on a white sheet of paper, it allows to work freely as if I’m sketching. After creating the sketch/outline for the illustration, I scan it and color it digitally, since on the computer I have the option to experiment with a lot of different colors on the same piece.
4. What is your artistic process like?
First I start with an idea. Sometimes I need to do some research before I start sketching, and sometimes it’s the other way around (if I already have an idea in mind based on something I saw or experienced and I only need to research for the details). The outline is made manually or digitally and then I proceed with colors. Usually, when I’m working on the final piece I don’t have to be as concentrated as I was when I sketched, so I listen to podcasts/audiobooks and enjoy my time.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
Artwork of other illustrators, stories (I love reading) and things happening around me. I can walk down the street and see an interesting looking plant, a cat or a bus driver and have their features in mind for the next time I illustrate.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
I think that because I’m an illustrator (which is also kind of being a story-teller) I notice much more of the world around me. Everywhere there is a story and that’s a perspective I didn’t always have.
7. Where did you study?
I studied at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem for a bachelor degree (B.des) in Visual Communication, illustration major.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope to work in the children’s book industry and to publish a book of my own, which I wrote and illustrated. You can check with me in five years time to see if I accomplished it.
9. What about in ten?
I hope to travel with my family, explore new places and new illustration techniques and to create my own projects while also doing commissioned work. I also dream of being part of an artistic community and creating a joint workspace. Being a freelance illustrator can get a bit lonely sometimes and I think it’s important to have a group of colleagues to consult and to enjoy each other’s company while working.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
To tell a story that will make the viewers enjoy and think.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favorite food?
12. Favorite book?
Harry Potter (the third, if I HAVE to choose only one).
13. Favorite genre of music?
Always in the mood for some eighties & nineties music.
14. What are your hobbies?
Being outdoors, illustrating, reading, cooking with my husband and having some quality time with family/friends over coffee or wine.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
I would probably study psychology in order to become a psychologist. Today I realize how much it doesn’t fit my character and that I’m better as an illustrator, but back when I enrolled in the university, that was what I intended to study. If I had decided not to apply for art school or if I wouldn’t have been accepted, and go on my art career route, I would have probably been working hard on my psychology career right now. So glad I gave my hobby a shot and turned it into my profession.