7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #685: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Avani Dwivedi

h1 April 5th, 2020 by jules


It’s the first Sunday of a new month. The days may be running together, but I’m pretty darn sure it’s the first Sunday in April. A first-Sunday means I feature the work of an illustration student or newly-graduated one. Today, I welcome Avani Dwivedi, who graduated, as she tells you below, from MICA last spring. She’s here to tell us a bit about herself, as well as share some of her richly colored, vibrant illustrations. (Pictured above is part of an illustration from her thesis project, which she discusses below.) Let’s get right to it, and I thank her for sharing today.

* * *

Avani: I grew up in Mumbai, India, and later moved to the States to pursue my passion of becoming an artist. Last spring, I achieved that by graduating from Maryland Institute College of Arts (MICA) with a BFA in Illustration & Book Arts. After graduation, I moved to Queens, New York.

I like to think of myself as a storyteller and an illustrator. Much of my work is inspired by my identity and experiences that I’ve collected while growing up in India. While creating my illustrations, I try to incorporate those experiences in the form of textures and colors. I enjoy experimenting with different mediums and using new techniques to bring out different emotions. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with layering mixed mediums on watercolor.

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During my senior year at MICA, I developed a deeper interest in picture books. My thesis project, Ela’s Flower [pictured below], was a significant learning experience for me. While working on that, I learned about the complementary role that writing and illustration play in bringing vivid stories to life. I explored the functionalities of a picture book and the importance that every spread plays. It inspired me to create stories that are whimsical, diverse, and meaningful.


(Click image to enlarge)


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Currently, I’m working on a dummy based on the crazy adventures and actions portrayed in Bollywood movies and if one can achieve those adventures in real life. In addition, I’m also editing Ela’s Flower and pitching its dummy around.






(Click image to enlarge)


All images used by permission of Avani Dwivedi.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

Thanks again to Avani. I can’t wait to see where her career takes her next.

1) Reading. Reading. Reading. It won’t be that long now when I meet with the other Boston Globe-Horn Book judges to make decisions about the 2020 award-winners. Unfortunately, we can’t meet in person this year, but thank goodness for Jetsons phone calls.

2) My daughter Ada is learning to play “Ada Plays” by Gabriel Yared on the piano. Things are getting very meta around here.

3) Joan Shelley released two new songs during what she calls the great shut-in of 2020. Here’s one below. It’s beautiful.

4) Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

5) I didn’t necessarily enjoy watching the very last episode of Steven Universe (and Steven Universe Future), because I don’t want to see it end, but I’m glad to have seen them all. Steven forever.

6) This pleases me. It pleases my inner 11-year-old, who had a big crush on Barry Manilow (and who was once a member of the Barry Manilow International Fan Club AND who once was on the receiving end of a wink from Barry).

7) This beautiful poem a dear friend sent.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

11 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #685: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Avani Dwivedi”

  1. Avanti, thank you for bringing your art to us. It’s luscious and layered.
    Jules, I am reading a book by Mark Nepo. That poem is just what I needed this morning. And reading…enjoy.
    My kicks:
    1. Submitting poems and haiku for publication. Fingers crossed.
    2. The variety of birds at the feeder: crows, red wing blackbird, sparrows, flickers, hummers, and more.
    3. Getting in the car with Chuck, and going through drive though for a milkshake(Rachel, it was Burgerville).
    4. Writing poems about food my blog.
    5. Walking when not raining.
    6. Finished The Library Book by Susan Orlean.
    7. Lengthening days.
    7.5. This community.
    Have a great week.

  2. Hello, Kickers!

    Unsurprisingly, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks Sunday is already an oasis of calm in a crazy time… and I’ve been here for just a few minutes. Thanks, Jules!

    Avani Dwivedi’s story of a girl who wakes up one day to find a large, colorful flower growing out of her ear charms the bejeezus out of me. (It’s given me several ideas — which I’m of course too chicken to actually act on — for embellishing a pair of old hearing aids I haven’t worn recently: practical AND fun.) I think my favorite of the images she’s included here is the classroom, seen from above, in which her schoolmates have very distinct and 100% believable responses to her distracting, er, ornament.

    Jules: thanks for the Joan Shelley… that is beautifully dreamy, isn’t it? And thanks too for Steven Universe, which I now believe must go on the spring 2020 “I need soothing distractions from as many different compass points as possible” watchlist.

    My own kicks for the week:

    1. indisputably my BIG kick of the week: I retired at the end of the day Tuesday. (People are getting tired of hearing that from me, and I know I’ve got to tone it down — especially now, at this moment in history, when otherwise unreservedly good news just feels tacky to bring up.)

    2. This album, by a Chinese master of the sheng: per Britannica.com, a “Chinese free reed wind instrument consisting of usually 17 bamboo pipes set in a small wind-chest into which a musician blows through a mouthpiece.”

    3. Rediscovering the pleasures of leisurely neighborhood walks (HOME neighborhood walks, not “I’ve only got a half-hour so I better walk FAST” lunch breaks at work).

    4. Watching how some Instagrammers I follow have responded creatively to being confined, like an old friend who’s finding poetry in widely spaced words and a stranger who prefers to travel for real but is now creating her dream adventures in landscapes consisting of vegetables, bedsheets, paper bags…

    5. Re-reading Pratchett’s Discworld books, in order.

    6. Finally getting the hang of a hundred little features my camera has which I’ve been, until now, studiously ignoring as too time-consuming.

    7. Grocery delivery isn’t anywhere near the awful experience I feared.

    Have a kickin’ week, all!

  3. Go Avani!!!!
    My kicks for the week.
    1. Seeing my amazing students again for the first time after a brief hiatus.
    2. Watching the kid lit community come together so wonderfully during this crisis!
    3. Spending time in the yard instead of the gym.
    4. My golden retriever quarantine partner who reminds me to go out and walk everyday (whether I like it or not).
    5. Planting my first tree! It’s a smoke tree and I can’t wait for it to grow up!
    6. Watching Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu while listening to the audiobook! Soooo good.
    7. Technology to keep us all close during these strange times.

    Congratulations on your retirement Jes!!

  4. Jone, which book of Mark’s are you reading? Good luck on your first kick. Fingers crossed for you!

    John! HAPPY RETIREMENT! That is EPIC. Congrats! Yes, Steven Universe needs to be a part of your retirement-watching now. Thank you for these entertaining links. I GOTTA look into that album.

    Shadra, thanks again for telling me about Avani. (Everyone: Shadra taught Avani at MICA!) … I am watching Little Fires Everywhere too. I have not read the book, though I’ve read another by her, and I’m eager to read it now. Kerry Washington’s face alone is a vast and wondrous landscape of EMOTION, now isn’t it?

  5. Good morning, Imps!

    Hello, Avani! Thank you for sharing your work with us. Best of luck! 🙂

    Jules: Which Jetsons character do you relate to the most? Hi Ada! Yay music.

    Jone: Fingers crossed!

    JES: Congratulations on your retirement! I second the feeling that Seven Imp is an oasis. Thank you, Jules!

    Shadra: Good puppy. 🙂 Hope your students are all doing well.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Auditions
    2) Singing
    3) Connecting
    4) Creating
    5) Editing
    6) Writing
    7) Doing

  6. Thank you for sharing your beautiful, colorful illustrations – they are a much needed burst of cheer. Especially love the illustration of Ela’s bedroom with its happy sunshine rug and her with her blue covers and red flower.

    Jules – thank you for sharing that poem, reading it while listening to the song you shared was a perfect moment. Also love the Barry Manilow covers, will check them out. Portrait was such a beautiful film, may have to re-watch again soon.

    Jone – fingers crossed. Thanks for the heads up on Burgerville, tonight I’m ordering delivery from a local family-owned restaurant Canton Grill. Yay for the variety of birds at your feeder and longer days.

    JES – congrats on your retirement! Thanks for the Instagram links as well. Enjoy those leisurely walks.

    Shadra – pets to your good pup. Hooray for spending time in the yard and technology keeping us all connected.

    Little Willow – love how active and in motion your kicks are, especially love kicks 2,3, 4 and 7 this week.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Finally watched Sex Education (thanks Jules!) and really loved it. the Season 2 finale had me howling from the get go. So good.
    2) Watching The Durrells in Corfu right now and enjoying all the gorgeous scenery, the characters, and the animals. Gerry’s childhood running wild on the island with the animals is one I would have loved to have had as a kid, so fun to live vicariously through the series.
    3) My neighbor chopped down a tree that had died and was partially hanging into my yard. I will miss the tree, as I had birdfeeders in it, but the upside is more sunshine in the back yard. Birdfeeders were moved in advance and I was able to safely gift my neighbor with a large portion of the chocolate chip cookies I baked this week.
    4) Daisy sunning outside in the yard soaking up the beautiful day.
    5) Banana pancakes for brunch.
    6) This young artist in NYC doing a fundraiser for 5 area animal rescues – she started with a small goals & has raised over 9K. Can’t wait for her rendering of Daisy: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-m0xy7JdUB/
    7) It was so sad to learn of songwriter-musician Adam Schlesinger’s passing this week. (He was in Fountains of Wayne, known for Stacy’s Mom, and he wrote That Thing You Do for the movie.) Revisiting some of his amazing work on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has been a way to remember his genius – and his songs are so funny and witty – they bring joy. Here’s a link to 10 of them: https://twitter.com/alinebmckenna/status/1246528585474555904
    7.5) Oregon sending ventilators to New York.

    Bonus kick – soft places to land, like 7 imps. JES, totally agree this is an oasis of calm. Very thankful for this community.

    Have a good week everyone – stay safe and well!

  7. Little Willow: I haven’t seen The Jetsons in soooo long that I’m not even sure how to answer that! Break a leg, as always, at auditions.

    Rachel: So glad you watched Sex Education! The second season gave me all the feels, as the young people say. Thanks for the links, and here’s to more sunshine in the yard.

    Have a good week, you all!

  8. Rachel: What an amazing fundraiser + awesome drawing style! You’re going to have to show us her drawing of Daisy!

    Jules: Thank you! 🙂

  9. Small footnote: just saw this roundup on CNET of (in the author’s opinion) the best kids’ shows right now. Steven Universe isn’t on the list, and you’ve probably at least peeked at all of these anyhow; still…


  10. Hey Avani. Its great to see your talent & would like to refer you as Artistic Avani 🙂
    I am really exited to know about, what’s going in your mind considering Bollywood movies & its crazy adventures..!!
    Wishing you all the success & Happiness while achieving goals in your career.
    Here are my seven kicks:
    1. Smile of my cute little twin babies every morning
    2. Seeing empty roads in city like Mumbai
    3. Enjoyed watching comedy episodes of Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, even though I had watched it earlier
    4. Did Yoga & few exercises without missing even a single day. Managed to maintain my weight in this lock-down
    5. Did some charity & found it amazing when everyone around you is doing it for country
    6. Learnt something new in technology which is very basic but felt happy after learning it.
    7. Reading about your creativity & talent here

  11. Hi, Makarand. I’m just now seeing this comment, weeks later. Hope you come back and kick again!

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