Friday, September 8, 2023

Q&A with Amy Scheidegger Ducos



Amy Scheidegger Ducos is the author and illustrator of the new children's picture book Courage Takes Practice: A Color Theory Storybook for Young Artists. The book is also available in a Spanish-language edition. Also a business owner and artist, she lives in Ecuador.


Q: What inspired you to create Courage Takes Practice?


A: The idea originated from my own childhood, where I moved to a small city when I was pretty young and got made fun of for my unusual last name BUT became selectively popular when my classmates realized I could draw.


I started writing the book after I moved to Ecuador (and started dealing with feeling like an outsider yet again) but rewrote it once I had my daughter, who was born in Ecuador and has dual citizenship, because I wanted her childhood to be incorporated into the story as well.


Q: Did you work on the text first or the illustrations first--or both simultaneously?


A: The text definitely came first, but I did start illustrating before I had a professional edit the story, which was a big no-no, I learned! Changes in text can completely change the need for an illustration that's already been made or needing to make a new one.


After the book was professionally edited, a large part of the story changed, and therefore the first three illustrations (which were made before I sent it to my editor) weren't usable anymore.

Q: What role do you see color theory having in expressing emotions?


A: Color theory helps children, (and adults, truthfully) who rarely have the vocabulary to talk about the nuances of how they're feeling.


Color theory is a simplistic way of pinpointing emotions because it presents children with a concept they are very much familiar with, colors, and assigning feelings to each color - mainly blue (sad), yellow (happy), red (angry), orange (alert), green (hopeful) and purple (creative).


I have found kids are much more able to point at red and blue on a color wheel to show that they are angry and sad than they are able to stop feeling angry or sad long enough to explain that they're angry and sad.


Q: The book is published in English and Spanish editions--why did you make that choice?


A: I am living in Ecuador with my husband and daughter, who are both bilingual, so having a Spanish version was a no-brainer so I could share the book with our community here. There is a Portuguese version in the works as well!


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am writing the next book in the Courage Takes Practice series, which is about my daughter losing her twin in utero. The story's main takeaway is about acceptance and balance; therefore the book will have a selective palette of turquoise and coral to create a therapeutic space for those who read it. 


I will be illustrating a few more books for other authors in 2024 and I want to work towards illustrating covers for fantasy novels - my favorite form of escapism since becoming a mom.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Coloring books based on Courage Takes Practice are up on Amazon! Here's the link. And I hope to offer an online Color Theory Class for Kids (ages 8 to 12) in the future based on the book.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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