Hora Rachel Portrait 2 (2)

“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.