Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Your Stand-out Moment

Hi Picture Bookies! This morning, as I work on my 4th picture book in less than 2 years, I am thinking back on my other books and my career as a children's book illustrator, and my favorite "stand-out" moments. As you may relate, illustrating a children's book is not a job as much as a journey. As artists, we give ourselves as we give our art, and lend our talents to a story in a way that is unique from any other artist.

So as I am reminiscing, certain "stand-out" moments come to mind, moments I am proud of or made me especially happy to be a picture book illustrator.

One of those moments was when I finished "The ABCs of yoga for Kids" and flew to CA for 2 book signings and a school visit. I was so proud! I felt as though I had accomplished something. Kids have been amazingly receptive to the book, and it has won 6 awards now. Every time I have ever handed the book to a child - even a child who is not old enough to read - I see them delight in trying out the poses they see illustrated in my book. they love pretending that they are frogs, dolphins, warriors...and I feel my job is done! You see, I grew up in a chaotic environment, and my "safe place" was found in the pages of my favorite children's book illustrations. Even before I could read, the pictures inside books sucked me in. I remember "The Ugly Duckling" and "The Patchwork Elephant" were two books that deeply engaged me and helped the world make sense to me. I don't know that "The ABCs of yoga for Kids" has the same exact meaning for kids that my favorite books meant to me as a kid, but in this age of video games, electronic over-stimulation and texting, I think that any book that can evoke a kid play an active role in "pretending" is accomplishing something grand! I am so grateful I was chosen to be a part of that experience.

The other "stand-out" moments for me have been choosing the people to whom I want to dedicate my books. That is an important decision, I think, a chance to publicly thank and acknowledge the people who have propelled me toward where I am today, played an important part in my past or my present, or offered support and guidance. I dedicated "Little Black Ant on Park Street" to my mother, who gave me a love for art, nature and God. I would not be the artist I am today if not for her influence.

What are your "stand-out" moments as a children's book illustrator?


Ginger*:) said...

Thanks for a wonderful Post, Kate. Your success is well deserved and your paintings bring life to any story you illustrate. To encourage children to read and love to read is what the Picture Bookies are all about.

Congratulations on your success!

Vanessa Brantley Newton said...

How awesome was this??? Such a wonderful post. Hard work and love for what you do will always bring reward. Not just in fabulous awards, but in the joy you get when you make an impression on a child's world. I wish you many more "Stand Out" moments.

Kathleen Rietz said...

Thanks, Picture Bookies!

Roberta said...

You in inspire Kate!

A stand out moment.... the point in which you get so lost in the color, the story and the process that you forget time and surrounding!

Kit said...

Congrats Kathleen,
looking good-
Kit Grady