The Children’s Book Council asked authors what are “3 Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Answer?” I wondered, when did I know I was an illustrator? When did I make the leap from coloring books to drawing my own pictures, and did those pictures tell a story? I read an article here that suggests that the original coloring books were for adults. As early as the 1600s coloring was an activity to encourage learning.
“…for the practise of the hand doth speedily instruct the minde, and strongly confirme the memory beyond any thing else.” –Henry Peacham’s Compleat Gentleman, 1634
Read the full article here
Coloring books were a great way to occupy a child. Who knew we were developing our minds and our hand eye coordination? I was a dreamy kid. Coloring was something I did to explore my thoughts. I could daydream and color for hours. My relationship to color began with a Christmas set of 72 crayons bearing color names as mysterious as their visual sensation; periwinkle, maize, bittersweet, midnight, mulberry… colors that inhabited other worlds. I would be dazzled and sometimes overwhelmed by color for the rest of my life. In first grade we were given a gigantic piece of paper that covered our desk and some crayons. “Draw something,” said our ancient teacher, Mrs. Hickman. She wore her glasses hanging on a beaded necklace, and a cardigan like Mr. Rogers, yet for some reason she was frightening. I could fill a stack of coloring books, but what should I draw? I was excited and a little daunted. Just then, the chubby girl with the leotards threw up all over the floor – right next to me! Chaos ensued, the janitor came in with his mop contraption, the wild ropey strings twisting and squeezing through the wringer, like my grandma’s forbidden washing machine. Next came the banana-chemical spray that permeated the nostrils of your memory forever. It was almost worse than the barf. I drew a tiny girl in the corner of my paper and filled the page with fantastic swirls and colors of throw up, with chunks and dots to make a decorative pattern. Could you blame me? Mrs. Hickman snatched up my paper, gave me a disgusting look, wrinkled it into a ball and threw it in the trash. I was dumbfounded if not horrified and insulted. Good thing she didn’t ruin my enthusiasm -all I wanted to do was tell a story with pictures.
V’s of geese honk across the sky, red and yellow striped-legged spiders make webs in the doorways, and the wolf spiders come into the house. These are the signs of fall in the north. Soon the dewy webs will glisten in the tall grass in the early morning. It is the time of the Spider […]
Picture This, a book by Molly Bang was a recent discovery! Nicknamed the “Strunk and White of Visual Literacy,” Molly’s book celebrates its 20th year anniversary. I wondered why I had not read this book until now? The illustrations are cut from construction paper, using a limited palette, focusing on reducing elements to their most […]
These are my storybook girl characters based on fairy tales, my daughter, myself and little girls everywhere who are smart, love adventure, can think for themselves and not afraid to take chances. In my new stories, boys are the main characters. I hope to introduce you to them soon.Snow CinderMaia and Damia Alyeska Gigi Katy […]
When my kids were still little, we lived up on a mountaintop where the wind could blow over one hundred miles per hour! Here they are wind surfing on the deck. On those nights, it was pretty hard to fall asleep with all of the excitement of the wind. We camped out on the floor […]
Once upon a time is why we read stories to kids. It is not just for entertainment, or to teach the love of reading, or to simply teach them what they need to know, it is most of all to give children a gift – the power of their own imagination. When you transport […]
Never judge a book by its cover. Were you given this tidbit of advice as a kid? Me, too. It’s true in life but not in the print world. A cover is what draws people in to a book, more than not. Even when it comes to packaging at the grocery store, I know better […]
75th Anniversary of Little Golden Books! As a child I was dazzled by the gold foil spine on the little hard cover books that fit just right in your hands. What I didn’t know was that this was only part of the legacy of Little Golden Books. Back in 1942 the company produced quality picture […]
I am working on the 2nd Edition of “Tastes Like Home”, a collection of recipes from my family and friends, just in time for Christmas. The project began so my kids could have a place to find an old favorite recipe like Grama’s Funnel Cakes — does anybody make those anymore (?) or Donora Pirogies. […]