I remember kids used to give me a penny for drawing them a horse. I loved horses, but I couldn't have one, so I would draw a horse for myself. I would make it food and a blanket for it to wear and a place to live.
When I was little I used to wish I could talk to the illustrators because I wanted to discuss something about the books. With so many of the other art forms that children experience, such as movies and television, they don't get to control the pace.
I create books for six-year-olds. I don't know why that time of my life was so important to me, but no matter what I draw, it always looks like it comes from a children's book. I can't resist. I'll set out to paint a serious picture then think, "Well, maybe there would be a little bunny in that corner."
I knew that I wanted to be an illustrator since I was in kindergarten. I can remember the exact day. The art teacher usually came to our classroom once a week, but she was absent that day. Instead, our regular teacher gave us each a huge piece of paper and crayons, and we could do whatever we wanted.
Teachers have to respect the privacy of students' creative life, but at the same time give them a chance to express themselves.
I remember the special quiet of rainy days when I felt that I could enter the pages of my beautiful picture books. Now I try to recreate that feeling of believing that the imaginary place I'm drawing really exists. The detail in my work helps to convince me, and I hope others as well, that such places might be real.
Of all people, children are the ones that really understand when there's a truth there for them - an emotional truth. The characters really have to work. Children, as an audience, are very inspirational for me.
When I was little, I loved books that gave me lots of detail so that I felt like I could be transported to this other place, or, in the case of an illustration, I felt like I could walk into the page.
A children's book is the perfect place where young readers can understand the world because they can take a deep breath and look at it and imagine and contemplate while they're looking at.
Writing a story is like going down a path in the woods. You follow the path. You don't worry about getting lost. You just go.
Last Update: 26 October 2021
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