I’m A Tulsa Kid: Ila Marangoni, Artist
The year 2020 has been a difficult one for everyone, but 9-year-old Ila Marangoni has taken her time in quarantine and used it as inspiration. This summer Scholastic held a contest to illustrate for J.K. Rowling’s new book, The Ickabog. Ila has taken her time away from friends and school and used it as her muse to create a winning illustration.
TK: At what age did you start drawing?
Ila Marangoni: I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. As a really little kid, around age 2 and 3, I didn’t really like coloring books because I wanted to draw my own pictures and color them in. My mom says I would go through so much paper that way.
TK: What made you want to enter Scholastic’s competition to illustrate for J.K. Rowling’s The Ickabog?
Ila: Every summer, my family puts together a summer bucket list of fun activities, and entering this contest was on my list. I really love the Harry Potter series and I also love drawing, so this contest brought together two things that I really love.
TK: What was your inspiration behind the illustration?
Ila: I’ve always had close friends who are boys, and so I really related to Bert and Daisy’s friendship. This year, one of my closest friends is homeschooling, and I really miss him. My picture of Bert and Daisy hugging shows how I think I’ll feel when I see him again.
TK: How did you feel when you won?
Ila: We were having a family movie night and my mom and dad pulled me aside in my room during the middle of the movie. I thought I might be in trouble. When they told me the good news, I was like “Is this real?” and I made them show me the email. Truth be told, I almost fainted! Then, throughout the rest of the movie, I kept smiling, even during the sad parts.
TK: What did you learn from the experience?
Ila: I think this has been a really hard year for a lot of people. This has taught me to look for the positives that can come out of bad situations. I’m so happy that the proceeds from this book will go to help people struggling from the coronavirus.
TK: What advice do you have for other artists?
Ila: Keep trying – it takes a long time to make a good piece of art. The goal isn’t always to win contests but to express yourself.
TK: What other hobbies do you have?
Ila: I love reading, spending time with animals, and writing stories and illustrating them. I also love hanging out with my Girl Scout troop and making pasta with my dad.
TK: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Ila: I haven’t quite decided yet, but some options are a teacher of fourth grade, a veterinarian, or an art teacher. No matter what I do, I definitely want to be a dog owner.
TK: Who inspires you?
Ila: I’ve been reading a lot of Calvin and Hobbes and I really like how the words and pictures come together to create humor. Sometimes I try to draw my own comics, something that I think I’m getting a little better at. I’m also really inspired by my teachers. They worked so hard to give us a good education even in the middle of the pandemic. Last year, on top of all the extra work of making school available online, my teacher made really funny videos that would be the highlight of my day.
TK: What is a fun fact about you?
Ila: I take ninja classes and have learned to do a flip on a trampoline. I really love animals and got to foster a dog during the Coronavirus shutdown. I also have a pet hamster named Ginger who is adorable.