Keep your eye on this guy! Thanks, Mike, for the tag!
Now for the tour:
What am I currently working on?
Sometimes walking and chewing gum at the same time can be a challenge, and that's just what I'm doing right now--walking Henny and chewing Peddles ;)
|Henny-packed window at The Corner Bookstore|
Since Henny's release in January, it's been a whirlwind of activity--including her launch party at Secret Garden Books in Seattle, and an amazing New York celebration at The Corner Bookstore in Manhattan.
But I have to say, one of the biggest highlights so far was being invited to read Henny
at the Eric Carl Museum of Picture Book Art. It was a blast!
|reading Henny for Storytime at The Carle|
Also thrilling was Henny getting an ALA Booklist Star, and then finding out she was named to the Kids' Indie Next List!
Activity is on-going for Henny: in addition to some school and bookshop visits, next up is the American Librarian Association meeting in Las Vegas where I will be signing Henny at the Simon and Schuster booth.
MEANWHILE, my butt has GOT to be in the chair all summer for my next picture book, also with Simon and Schuster. The final art for Peddles, my little pig with big ideas, is due September 1. Yikes!
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is a tough one to answer. Everything and nothing is new under the sun. I am "trained" traditionally, in that I started out life as an architect, then segued over to fine art, scientific illustration, and portrait art before becoming an illustrator. All of my art work is done with paint/pencil/pen on paper. I use the computer only for some occasional fine tuning. I don't think this necessarily differentiates me from other writer/illustrators. What I can say, though, is my approach to art has been informed by the likes of Beatrix Potter, Edward Gorey, with a little John Tenniel thrown in, to name but a few--so I guess you could say quirky (combine Potter + Gorey and that's what you get, right?). Generally, I try not to belabor details, unless they are germane to the emotional state of my character. As for my writing, I tend to focus on what's going on inside the little noggins of my characters and, when I do, it almost always takes them somewhere interesting. I am a firm believer in the aesthetic, "less is more" (thank you, Mies van der Rohe).
Why do I write what I write?
I'm not sure I really know. As a child, I was very much "in my head." I think my characters reflect this. Being a kid can be tough, and I hope my picture books, in addition to just being fun to look at, strike a chord in their little developing brains. At the very least, I hope my stories will get them to sit still for a minute or two.
How does my individual writing/illustrating process work?
I almost always begin with a quick character sketch or a doodle. I have sketchbooks and sketchbooks filled with critters of all sorts. Usually one will push its way to the fore, and I keep drawing he/she/it until a story forms. When I thought up Henny, I had been drawing birds--all sorts, imaginary and real. I had just finished a painting of a dodo and that got me thinking about birds that can't fly. Well, one thing led to another, and next thing I knew she was lookin' right back at me, sans wings and, well, you know the rest of the story ;)
Thanks again for the tag, Mike!
I miss you!
Next tag-ees! You'll love touring with these two:
Ben Clanton and Jennifer Mann (check out their photos--Henny is definitely a fan!).
Ben, my pal from Seattle who, like Mike, had to up and move east (sniff ), is the author/illustrator of a bunch of fun, FUN picture books. Most recently, the marvelous
and Jennifer, my friend and fellow recovering architect, whose book, Two Speckled Eggs, debuted in April to rave reviews!
Be sure and tune in to their blogs next Monday, 6/2, to read up on all the wonderful, fun, and inspiring work from these two talented author/illustrators. You'll be glad you did.