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?