Mercedes McDonald is a successful and well-known freelance illustrator. Her artistic style is characterized by vivid color pastel that depict her childhood memories of the West and often feature animals. She further developed and refined her natural artistic talent at the Atlanta College of Art, the California College of Arts and Crafts, and the San Francisco Art Institute, where she earned an M.F.A. in painting. She has worked with Chronicle Books, Harcourt Brace, and other publishers for whom she has illustrated numerous books, such as How Snake Got His Hiss: An Original Tale (Orchard Books, 1996) and Fairy Trails: A Story Told in English and Spanish (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2005). In 1990, McDonald received the Maxwell Award for her drawings in “Cooking with Dogs” (Dig Writer’s Association of America, 1998) and has been featured in Communication Arts Magazine. Her book Hola Noche/Hello Night received the International Book Award for Best Bilingual Picture Book of 2008. Her latest work, published by the University of Arizona Press, For A girl Becoming is a coming of age poem written by well-known Native American author Joy Harjo.
Other clients include Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Apple, Hewlett Packard, and Disney.
McDonald taught illustration at the California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco for six years. She is now an adjunct faculty at the College of the Canyons in Valencia, California, and at California State University, Fullerton.