“A Day In The Life” with Illustrator Carmen Mok

Carmen Mok came to Canada from Hong Kong in her early teens. She attended high school and then university in Kitchener-Waterloo. Having a passion for the arts, she studied Fine Arts at the University of Waterloo. Upon graduating, she enrolled in the Craft and Design Program at Sheridan College.

The journey to becoming a full-time children’s book illustrator has not been a straightforward or easy one for Carmen. She has worked as a potter creating ceramics, as well as a graphic designer for a Toronto newspaper. In the beginning of her illustration career, she worked full-time by day and created her illustrations by night.

Carmen has always been fascinated by paper products. There were several years she licensed her art to stationery and greeting card manufacturers, which then expanded to fabrics and children’s wall arts. In 2015, Carmen dedicated herself full time to children’s book illustrations. She has been creating children’s books non-stop ever since.

Carmen loves to work with watercolours and colour pencils. She is inspired by antiques, animals, and nature; and imparts her personality and quirkiness in every piece of illustration that she draws. I cannot help but chuckle and smile when I see her illustrations for the first time.

Written by Wing – husband

Carmen Mok
1. A corner of my studio where I spend most of my time gathering ideas and painting.
Carmen Mok
I like to display my published books on my wall shelves.
Top: A Stopwatch from Grampa (written by Loretta Garbutt, published by Kids Can Press).
Middle: Grandmother’s Visit (written by Betty Quan, published by Groundwood Books) and the picture book honour title of the 2018-2019 Asian/Pacific American Award.
Bottom: Violet Shrink (written by Christine Baldacchino, published by Groundwood Books).
My painting process for the next picture book Luna’s Green Pet, (written by Kirsten Pendreigh, will be published by Sleeping Bear Press August 2022)
The book cover art of Luna’s Green Pet.
My sketches and character developments for When I Listen To Silence (written by Jean E. Pendziwol, published by Groundwood Books)
One of my favourite illustrations I created for When I Listen To Silence.
Carmen Mok
Book reading in The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto.
Carmen Mok
Drawing activity with children about using imagination and storytelling.


Which ’hood are you in?

I currently reside near Niagara Falls, Canada surrounded by the Lake Ontario and many beautiful wineries.

What do you do?

I am a full-time children’s book illustrator. I work with different publishers across Canada and the US. Most people may not know that creating children’s books is a slow and long process. It usually takes me 10 to 14 months from sketch to final illustration for one picture book, but I love my job so much every day!

What are you currently working on?

I am currently illustrating a new picture book, Cone Dog (written by Sarah Howden, and published by Owlkids Books). It is our 2nd book followed by the Cone Cat, both books are fun to read with young readers.

I am also preparing some materials for a children’s art activity in the Word On The Street Toronto on June 11-12. It will be an in-person event, I am so looking forward to it!

Where can we find your work?

You can find my work on my website or from my agency FolioJr

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