SCBWI FACES Tita Berredo


SCBWI Faces goes behind the scenes to meet the volunteers who keep our society ticking. This month, Alice Nuttall chats to Tita Berredo, Illustration Feature Editor for Words & Pictures.

Tita Berredo is a children's writer and illustrator born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She has an MA in Children's Literature and Illustration from Goldsmiths, University of London, and is represented by Fairbank Literary Representation. Tita is the Illustration Features Editor of Words & Pictures, and a picture book reviewer for My Book Corner. She lives in Scotland, where she supports the local creative community volunteering for SCBWI, the AOI, and the SOA. 

Tita Berredo

What do you write and illustrate?

Short answer: picture books. I also write book reviews and articles on children’s literature, illustration and publishing. For a long time my artwork was mainly published on book covers and editorial material. After I finished my masters in children’s literature and illustration, I turned my focus to picture books. Nowadays I illustrate for other writers, and have a couple of authorial picture books under submission at the moment.

Tita's character studies

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well as volunteering?

My day job is illustrating. I have an agent in charge of book deals, but I freelance for commissions and collaborations. Another part of my income comes from running workshops, school visits, and mentoring. I love connecting with people and helping them develop their talents and skills, which is definitely one of the reasons why I volunteer.

Tita's illustration workshop and children's writing masterclass for WriteMentor 

Describe your creative space.

My studio is a collection of artefacts that reflect the child in me and the child I aim to create for. It's definitely my favourite place in the world!

The walls are covered with paintings, postcards, and illustrations from all over the world. My favourite is a set I made for my degree show that looks like the character is running across the room. 

I have bookshelves filled with children’s literature and art books, with a spot dedicated for Brazilian books. There's also loads of figurines around like dinosaurs, anime, and comics characters, and a few from children’s books too.

On my desk, my tools: brushes, pens, coloured pencils, crayons, and ink. There is a cabinet filled with all kinds of media, from pastels and pigments to acrylics and oils. My favourites are liquid watercolours.

My cat, Juca, also takes up a significant part of the place. He is a big Maine Coon who sits on my shoulders when he wants cuddles, and now comes with his wee sister, baby Caju.

Tita's inspiration and home studio

How long have you been a SCBWI volunteer?

I started five years ago, when I arrived in the UK, as a way of establishing my career and connecting with peers in a new country. SCBWI has been an important part of my story since, and I hope to be still involved with it for a long time.

Describe the main tasks of your role as a SCBWI volunteer.

I am the Illustration Features Editor of Words & Pictures, which I love! I work with an amazing team promoting emergent writers and illustrators from all backgrounds. Every week I have to commission and or produce an illustrated article focused on children’s illustrations. A dream job to me!

Also, I run the Glasgow children’s group and host many events like panels, interviews, workshops, and my favourite: the Scrawl and Scribble Crawl. This year I am doing the illustration graphics for SCBWI's Conference in Manchester, and I'm so excited to be running one of the fringe events. If you are attending the Conference, don't miss the Sketch Crawl! (Book here)

Producing the 'Illustrator in Action' feature for Words&Pictures

Do you do any other volunteering?

I review picture books for My Book Corner and also volunteer for the Society of Authors and the Association of Illustrators, as their Glasgow group admin. I have a wider presence under the SOA since I am a member of the Scottish committee and run their children’s writers and illustrators’ group. I think there are many benefits from working in symbiosis with organisations that reside within the same creative scope.

Has volunteering influenced your creative work in any way?

It certainly has influenced me to write more! Writing articles and reviews has restored a skillset from my social communications background that was left apart. It reminded me that I am a good writer for other audiences, and definitely makes me a more versatile professional.

What are the advantages of being a volunteer?

It's fantastic networking! Knowing many people doesn't necessarily get you a job or book deal, but being in people’s mind makes you an obvious choice to consider for many opportunities. Every person I met led me to another, the visibility is fantastic and it never stops growing. Also, you are showing communication skills, time management, and your productions all at once — which is better than any CV.

Volunteering has been a great experience for my career’s development, and one of the most rewarding on a personal level.

How many hours per week do you spend volunteering?

I do a fair amount of volunteering, so my weeks are very busy with admin work on top of running meetings and hosting events. I would say I spend about three to four hours a day on a busy one. But it really depends on how I organise my tasks and priorities.

The real challenge is balancing it with keeping my work’s quality, and taking care of my emotional and mental health.

Do the boundaries between volunteering get blurred or do you have clearly demarcated creative work/volunteering times/space? 

They can. I am a natural people-pleaser and struggle with saying no, so I have to be especially careful with the number of tasks that I commit to. I had to learn to respect my limits and allow myself time/space to recover. 

Volunteering is extremely rewarding but it is a selfless and sometimes thankless job, so it can easily overwhelm. The same amount of commitment you put into it has to go to the sensibility of taking care of yourself.

Favourite children’s book?

The most unfair question ever! My 'at the moment' favourite is a Brazilian wordless picture book called The Little Barbarian by Renato Moriconi. I liked it so much I wrote a review that you can read here.

Tita's illustrations

Tita with her Maine Coons, Caju and Juca

*All images: Tita Berredo

Find out more about Tita on her website or connect with her on Instagram or Twitter.


Alice Nuttall is a children’s and webcomic writer who spends her free time reading, knitting, and playing D&D, occasionally all at the same time. Her superpower is the ability to find a cup of coffee no matter where she is.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting piece, and graphically instigating, too! It does justice to the interviewee’s talent. SCBWI is to be lauded.


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