Eva Mahirah's debut picture book, What Shall I Be? takes a refreshing look at the standard question usually asked a child, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Q: Tell us about yourself.
A: I am Eva Mahirah binti Zulkifli. I am a doctor, a mother of two, a reader, and a writer. My favourite books are, forever and always, the Harry Potter series, and my favourite author is Jane Austen.
Q: Have you written or published before?
A: I have written and published a few short stories, but this is my first picture book.
Q: What made you want to write/illustrate a picture book?
A: I believe in the importance of stories in shaping who we are. The books we read, especially when we are young, are the foundation of how we see ourselves and others. This inspires me to write a children's book; I want to add another narrative, another character, another view, to this wonderful library of stories.
Q: When did you learn to draw? What tools/software did you use?
A: I thought I did not know how to draw, until a teacher of mine said, "Everyone can draw." Holding to that adage, I bought a pencil and a sketchbook, and started to draw.
Other than the sketches, I choose to line and colour my illustrations digitally, primarily because 1) multiple trips to the art supply shop for a novice like myself are more expensive than buying a drawing tablet and downloading a free drawing software and 2) there is an undo button in digital drawing.
I use a Huion 1060 Plus drawing tablet (priced around RM 200) and FireAlpaca drawing software (free), both of which are beginner friendly (with zero experience, I can comfortably use them after watching a few video tutorials and trying them out myself a few times).
Q: Tell us about the book.
A: I want to live in a world where girls are given every opportunity, encouragement, and support to explore their potential. What Shall I Be? is a tiny part of this world. I hope my readers, both girls and boys, enjoy the simple storyline and colourful pictures as much as I enjoy writing and illustrating this book.
Get this book from the Oyez! Bookstore.