I’ve been blessed to work with many gifted artists over the years. This morning I happened to pull down A THOUSAND COUSINS, illustrated in 1996 by Betsy Lewin. The cover shows a crowd of faces, all cousins no doubt. Each face is different and alive and funny, made so my just the right dot here, crooked line there, raised brow, tongue out — all tricks of the trade and none of which I could pull off.
Above my desk are two paintings, one by Chris Demarest from WHEN COWS COME HOME and one by Dan Burr from PIRATES. I always smile at Chris’s picture of a clueless farmer looking the other way while his cows are breaking out of the barn behind his back. Dan’s haunting image of a marooned pirate makes me feel sorry for the guy even though he had done terrible things. Totally different styles to help bring two very different books to life. On my desk are two framed drawings by Rob Shepperson who always brings his special brand of humor to his characters through body language, expression, activities, and general attitude. BUGS is one of my favorites.
Hans Wilhelm’s characters frolic through A MONSTER IS COMING! a story for the very young. Roberta Angaramo’s raccoons invite you into their world in A PERFECT HOME FOR A FAMILY.
Currently I’m working with Giles Laroche on our second book. Our first, NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T, comes out in a few weeks and we’re already deep into another project. I love how Giles goes about his craft through cutting paper, gluing pieces into a picture, and painting the result.
The list goes on but my point is that every artist is special and brings his or her own particular talent to bear on the writer’s work. Words on a manuscript page leap to life in ways that I never see coming. I have rarely been disappointed in my collaborations.
So today I salute all those talented artists who represent the other half of the team. We don’t always meet but the success of our partnership has everything to do with the way our readers see, understand, and enjoy the finished effort. I can’t do what you can, but I’m grateful that you can!