Felicia Fortes is shortlisted for the project ‘How to Talk to your Kids about Racism’ in the WIA2021 Professional Editorial Category sponsored by Procreate. Find out more Felicia, and her shortlisted project:

What’s your favourite thing about your shortlisted project?

I am happy with how I created a calm environment for the children while capturing emotions that may arise when discussing racism. We can imagine what the grownups talk about when they play with the children’s toys.

What processes did you use?

Göteborgs-Posten is a recurring client, so we have a very straightforward process. The dimensions are set, and I created a color palette that I have used from the start of our collaboration. It is saturated and versatile and has served me well with all kinds of subjects, like PTSD, male hair loss, secrets, and lucid dreams. You can see the sketch is close to the finished illustration.

How long did it take to complete your project?

In the period I got the assignment, the media was flooded with images about racism. So I needed more time researching than usual. When I finally had found what I was looking for, it went on smoothly to the sketch stage and the finished version.

Why did you choose to enter this work?

I grew up in a family with a black dad and a white mum. My black dad told me to beware of white people, while my white mum wanted me to believe that I wasn’t different from other kids in Sweden. Both views seemed strange to me, and that puzzled me as a kid.  When the newspaper Göteborgs-Posten, contacted me in the summer of 2020, the tragic killing of George Floyd and the following Black Lives Matter protests had just sparked a new discussion about racism and its victims. They had a piece on how we can talk about racism with our children that they wanted me to illustrate. So how can we talk about racism today? I thought about the children hearing about police violence and people being killed because of the color of their skin, realizing they have the same skin color as the victims. I also thought about the white children, wondering about their part in all this. And I thought about mixed children like me, with both sides of the conflict internalized.

What is your dream commission?

Last year I illustrated a whole short stories collection. It was both challenging and fun and made me realize that I would love to create more illustrations for literature, like book covers.