Carin Berger, who wrote and made the beautiful, meticulous illustrations for such books as The Little yellow Leaf, Forever friends and Ok Go, asked me to take part in a virtual author/illustrator blog tour. As illustrators or writers it is easy to stay cloistered in our little studios and Carin has been great at getting me and others out of our solitary bubbles. She has been organizing gatherings of a great group of illustrator women who all admire each other’s art and we see art shows, make crafts or just eat together every few months. There is something comforting about meeting up with others that share the same kind of life style and inspiring to hear what other illustrators are doing. Even though this is a virtual tour it still seems good to see what other people are up to and good to stop for a moment and think about and explain what I am doing.
here are the questions:
1. what am i currently working on?
I just finished a book I wrote and illustrated called “Tell me what to dream about”
I am excited about it because it has been a long time since I wrote anything.
It is inspired by the nightly routine I have with my youngest daughter to talk about what she should dream about. She claims she will not fall asleep unless she know what to dream about!
but I changed it to be two sisters’ (maybe my two daughters’) back and forth discussion of possible dreams.
the oldest sister suggests ideas…
and the younger one finds something wrong with every idea.
I am working on a project for Barnes and Noble…I will explain more later…..
I just made this for a show in Brooklyn curated by Jordan Isip where all the art has to fit in a dime bag.
I’m in few local group shows this summer that I am trying to make, collect and frame art for.
Then I am going to get started on a new book about a girl from revolutionary times who collects recipes called revolutionary cake
and finish editing another book I wrote about making things for a dollhouse.
My favorite thing is to know something I am going to do but not doing yet.
2. how does my work differ from others of its genre?
I don’t know what genre my art falls in. In reviews I always hear the words “childlike” and “folky” and although that is not intentional it is probably a result of loving children’s art and folk art. I am attracted to art that feels honest and unselfconscious and funny without trying to be. I just bought some paintings from a neighbor’s yard sale that were done by her 80 year old mother that I really like because they are just obviously done for pure enjoyment not to be an “artist”.
It seems like a lot of illustrators are either children’s book illustrators, editorial or commercial or fine artists and I guess I am somewhere in between all those. I do mostly make children’s books but I really enjoy occasional editorial or commercial jobs for a little variation in approach and expectations and I try to make painting that are not commissioned too to show in local galleries and I even started doing portraits for people sometimes. I don’t feel like my style changes for any of those very different kinds of things.
3. why do i write what i write?
I am not sure if I am a writer. I am just hesitantly sticking my toe into that.
Everything I have written so far stems from real life. I wrote about my childhood experience of traveling with my parents theater company in Europe in
The Year I didn’t Go to School
I wrote about my relationship with my sister in
Chloe’s Birthday …and Me
then for years I tried to write about my grandparents, who I spent a lot of my childhood with, but still haven’t successfully made a story about them.
This is my grandfather, Fuller, in his studio.
and then I started writing about my daughters more recently for the dream book and the dollhouse book about all the tiny things they make for the dollhouse like crumpled toilet paper popcorn.
4. how does my individual writing/illustrating process work?
For illustrating children’s books,
I do loose messy sketches in pencil
then I revise them ( editor’s comments are in yellow)
and tape the writing into the sketch and make sure it all fits.
usually I paint it once but sometimes I do a few versions. For this it was tricky to make the room and the two different dream ideas different from each other through color.
5. who are the two author/illustrators that you are passing the interview to?
I asked David Goldin and Mark Todd. David lives near by in the Hudson Valley and I met Mark and his wife, Esther (who’s paintings I love too) when they also lived here. They both have exciting work that is very different from mine and so I am looking forward to hearing what they are up to!