As a father of a teenaged son and infant daughter, how important is it for your children (and all children) to understand social issues?
Good question! And this relates a lot to children’s books. We’re all connected and the more we understand those connections the better. If you think of history like a tree, we are now at the branches, twigs, or leaves. But the trunk of the tree, the roots, and the branches are what the rest is built on. So much of history is a small slice of a much larger pie and if we, as adults or aware people, don’t share the entire history with all of its flaws, triumphs, and questions, we are doing a disservice to young people. So, I think it’s really important. It is important that, whatever the issue is, you don’t just hear views that you agree with. It’s also important to recognize when there has been a dominant view point and when other viewpoints have been purposely omitted or excluded.
Do you have any advice for artists wanting to do children’s book illustration?
Yes, read. Read lots of children’s books. The more you read picture books, middle-grade, comics, or graphic novels, the more you’ll understand all the techniques used to make it look beautiful. I would say to take care to build a community of friends or fellow creatives who are also interested in your story style or art of choice. I’ve learned so much from friends, more than any class. I would also suggest thinking outside of the box. Typically, kids’ literature is illustrated with watercolor or digitally, but there are so many other ways to do it; paper cut, sculpture, photography, murals, charcoal, colored pencils, etc.