My father used to leave pennies on windowsills.
Because it gave him such pleasure to think to the people who would find them. The children’s
author and illustrator Rosemary Wells is a kindred spirit. She places little delights
all through her stories. And she has written more than sixty with unique characters such
as Yoko, Noisy Norah and Max and Ruby. Children’s book illustration is much more
than drawing. Or painting. Or using pens and color. It’s about telling a story narrative
and not boring your reader. Children’s literature, if it is successful, must appeal to the heart
of the child. And that child will grab hold of it and say, “Ma. I want it again.” But
you’ve got to appeal enough to the sense of humor and the mother or father or teacher
or older brother or grandmother who is reading to that child. So that the child will feel
the laughter and the enjoyment in the reader’s voice and want the book again and again and
again. This is the one form of literature that takes 500 readings aloud without flinching.
And that’s a lot of use. One of the things I use is mixed media. This
painting itself has watercolor and a little pastel and some colored pencil. One of the
other things I do is save the real line work until the end. I put down the color on a baseline
of blue. And then do the line at the very, very end of the drawing. That way it sits
between the actual edges of the two colors red and green and just catches the light right.
So you have to keep the pictures moving and interesting and colorful and different from
one another. So that each page is a totally different experience and makes the child go
ahh rather than ugh.