Get to Know Our Illustrators: Mo Sanford

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Get To Know Mo Sanford

How long have you been a member of SCBWI? What’s the most impactful thing you have learned from being in SCBWI?

I’ve been a member for around 4 to 5 months now, and it is one of the greatest decisions I could have made! I’ve learned how important community is and how important it is to surround yourself with great people.


What medium(s) do you use to illustrate? What is your illustration process?

I use digital medium a lot, between photoshop and procreate, but I also love to use gouache! I start off doing rough thumbnails of a general idea. Then I do about 2 rounds of revisions and clean up sketches, then a color and value study. After that, I move on to Line-work and then paint over top. This process is the same for both my digital and gouache work!













How long have you been illustrating? How did you first get into illustration?

I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, but I started taking illustration seriously in high school! It’s kind of embarrassing, I actually got into art to impress a crush of mine. But I ended up loving art for myself!

Are you self taught or did you study illustration?

I started out being self-taught. I went to a performing arts highschool, and now I study Illustration at Laguna College of Art and Design!

Do you have a dedicated art space?

I have a set up at my desk! I’m able to go from digital mode to traditional media pretty quickly!

What would be your dream book to illustrate?

I think being able to illustrate any book would be a dream come true in of itself! I love stories of all kinds and want to dabble in everything!


Are you working on any fun projects now?

I have a dummy I’m currently working on! It’s about a sloth who tries to change himself to be liked by others, but he learns that he should embrace who he is because there are people out there who will love him for who he is. I’m working on this one in gouache!


Do you write children’s books as well or have any plans to do so?

I’m more of an illustrator than a writer, but I think I could write something if I put my mind to it!

Any tips for illustrators that are starting out?

Use references! Starting out, I never used references in my work, and I struggled a lot. I didn’t see any improvements and was getting really frustrated. Using references will really help take your art to the next level! Pinterest is your best friend.

Do you currently have an agent? If so, how did you end up with that agent?

I am currently unagented!

If you’ve won any illustrating awards, please list them here.

I was a TCA finalist recently and was an honorable mention for the scholastic arts show at the Mississippi Museum of Art a few years ago.

List 3 to 5 interesting things about yourself.

I have cornered my roommate to answer this for me, these are his responses.

1. I’d say her sense of style is pretty interesting (in both art and fashion haha) her sense of lighting has gotten better!

2. For 4 years straight, She has consistently pulled out pieces due the next day the night before. It blows my mind.

3. The balance she has of being silly and professional is pretty refreshing. The way she handles presentations and critique is very personable. She knows when to lighten the mood and when to take things seriously very seamlessly.

4. She really really really likes sloths. One of her dreams is to hold one. She has cried over it.

Where can people find more of your work?

My website:

My instagram: @mosephsart


I stay pretty active on my instagram! I post art updates and progress work on my stories.