A little about my artwork:
I interpret the words written on a page by telling the story behind the story working with pen and ink, watercolor and Photoshop, I fuse old techniques with modern ones to create a world that every drawing can speak to a child or grownups.
While working on last week’s post about my lack of reading as a kid, I was also thinking who was an early inspiration to my artwork. As I wrote I looked at the pictures and made up my own story the first book that came to mind was “The King with Six Friends” by Jay Williams illustrated by Imero Gobbato the illustrations are gorgeous I still have my copy from a kid; and you thought I was going to say Maurice Sendak.
(I did not grasp the beauty of the work till early teens)
Inside picture book artwork
Sorry I am having trouble finding the right lead into what I want to say.
While I was putting together my thoughts for last week post Mr. Sendak was on my mind; I was searching the web for something else and I stumbled on to an interview of him, and then I discovered via link that a new book of his is coming out and I said “Books of Wonder here I come!” and this weekend I did The book is beautiful with its vibrant watercolors and you can see who were Mr. Sendak’s influences in life.
You can read and see images from the book “My Brother’s Story” on
“Really nice Stephen!
When I checked out your "about" page though, I was disappointed to find out nothing ABOUT you. I already know about your art, because it speaks for itself and has its own page. Here's where you can loosen up a little and have fun, tell an art or reading related story of when you were as young as the children who will pick up a book you have worked on and then search for your website. Maybe show photos of where or how you work, where you live, if you have a family or pets, what hobbies or interests you have.
Even in very formal resumes, there's a place near the bottom of them to list personal interests. It's always nice for an Ed or Ad to know a little about the person, behind the illustrator, that they may want to work with, and your fans will want to know you too :)”
I was preparing for the SCBWI 2013 Winter Conference, one of the things I did was put together a brand new website; I have a new voice and I wanted my new artwork to shine, this website allowed that to happen. You clicked on an image and it pops up to full size, overall the site looks clean and professional.
But before I sent it out into the world of Art Directors, Agents and other publishing personas; I asked some of my hardest but fare critiques to look at it and above is one of the replies I received.
This one made me think, do I have a story I can share when I was that age?
My childhood was not all buttercups and roses, I drew pictures because I found it easier then talking or writing also a good way to hide, but I don’t have any of the artwork not even sure it even exist any longer.
Think, think, think… Hmm I don’t have any; I never read a book as a child I used to look at the picture and make up my own story. Even around the age of twelve or thirteen when a wonderful neighbor gave me “The Juniper Tree” by Lore Segal and Maurice Sendak l still only looked at the pictures. It was much later in life I finally read them; this was also my introduction to Maurice Sendak (even though I did not pay attention who illustrated it at the time).
When I went to School of Visual Arts I wanted to be a cartoonist, in my last year I found out I was short a few credits so I added a children’s book illustration class and I never looked back all I wanted to do was illustrate picture books. I should have guessed this on my own since 80% of the artist I liked was picture book illustrators, not cartoonist but better late than never.
I was in my twenties when I started my path as a full time reader “Mossflower” by Brian Jacques was a gift to me and I have not stopped since.
Well what I can say about the conference, on Saturday we started off listening to Meg Rosoff she was great what wit, fantastic! I am still wondering what happened to Peter Glassman he is the owner of Books of Wonder and was supposed to be part of panel talk but did not show up. There were two breakout sessions I got to listen to Kate Fletcher editor of Candlewick and Nancy Siscone senior executive editor Knopf Books for Young Readers both I found to be very nice who cared about the quality of a good story the term “layers and voice” was used often. The speaking part of the conference closed with Shaun Tan interesting person he said a lot about his work in an odd about way that was inspirational and entertaining.
A couple of the treats for me that night after the speaking part was done was a portfolio viewing I had to step away from my portfolio it is hard to watch people viewing it, but a lot of postcards were taken not sure by whom . It was followed by a Gala event where I got a vodka and orange juice (I think say screwdriver is silly) at the event a charming women came up to me to tell me how much she loved my elephants that was a great moment it meant I touched someone with my artwork and that is all I ever want to do.
Then one last get to know your fellow attendees this was a little silly But!
I met Tomie dePaola I did not think I would like this man but it was not the case he was generous with his time and answered everyone’s questions and told us straight how it is out there also who I did not get to speak to was the Hilt brothers it was nice for them to take the time to share their experiences with the group.
On Sunday one of the speakers put me to sleep I felt she did not know her audience. This was followed by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, who talked about sequential books and what to look out for very helpful. And finally Mo Willems who does a good job entertaining the audience even though I recognized some of his talk from a past event the info is still valid.
This was followed by a book signing were I finally got to meet David Ezra Stein and had him as well as Tomie dePaola sign their books.