“A picture book is a small door to the enormous world of the visual arts, and they’re often the first art a young person sees.” -Tomie DePaola.
I grew up surrounded by excellent picture books, illustrated by great artists like Tomie DePaola, Gyo Fujikawa and Garth Williams. I frequently demanded that my parents read to me: I NEEDED to know the stories that went with the wonderful pictures. When my parents rebelled (and who could blame them? I was quite the little tyrant when it came to my books) I learned to read on my own.
I knew from an early age that I wanted to tell stories and that I wanted to tell them through pictures. I wanted so desperately to draw – I was not a natural artist, and remember moments of excruciating frustration, trying to put on paper what I could see in my mind’s eye. When I was seven, my parents gave me a copy of Ed Emberley’s “Big Orange Drawing Book”. The key turned in the lock and the door opened. Ed Emberley gave me the tools I needed to express myself on paper. He taught me how nearly everything in this world could be drawn using a few simple shapes. It was how you arranged the shapes on your paper that counted.