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Studio Views: The Common Thread


For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt that my pictures were plain and unfinished unless something real was glued, stapled, or sewn on to them. It still feels that way, and over the years I’ve found a method of working that allows me to explore and play with a variety of supplies and […]

Studio Views: Gouache and I


For the last eighteen years, I’ve used gouache as my main medium. I fell in love with its bright, crisp colors, but it is gouache’s water-solubility that has kept me faithful. Many a time, after having a lengthy color deliberation with myself, I’ll find the brush in my hand hard with dried paint. Unlike acrylic […]

Studio Views: Human Mistakes and Trembling Lines


Almost all of my drawings are done with a Staedtler Mars technico lead holder, which is a blue plastic pencil that holds a 2mm lead in place. This type of pencil, which is sort of like a more heavy-duty version of a mechanical pencil (the kind with the very thin lead that breaks easily and […]

Studio Views: Family Albums


Photographing children is both exhilarating and exhausting. When I’m faced with a toddler’s classic meltdown, I wonder why I base my livelihood and sense of personal success on the whims of two- and three-year-olds. I wonder how I can capture natural, appealing photos in spite of runny noses, low blood sugar, and Barney. Hey, who […]

Studio Views: My Next Medium


My favorite medium, my ideal medium, is the one I haven’t used yet. Or, maybe, it’s the one that I’m contemplating using, toying with using, in my next book, Lordy! I think to myself, Lordy!, in my next book, I’m going to CUT LOOSE! In my next book. With my next medium. See, the thing […]

Studio Views: The Sculptural Quality


Etching in a nutshell: a polished copper plate is coated with a thin layer of wax (a ground). A sharp metal stylus (an etching needle) is used to scratch lines through the ground exposing the copper. Acid eats (etches) the lines down into the plate. The etched lines are filled with ink, and, under tremendous […]

Studio Views: Tiny Pieces of Paint


I grew up behind the Iron Curtain. There was a shortage of everything (freedom most of all) — and only one kind of paper, one kind of ink, one kind of paint. I was one happy artist when I became an illustrator in the U.S.A. So many materials! I settled on oil pastels, which I […]

Studio Views: Ticonderoga #2


My hands-down favorite medium would have to be graphite or lead, the core of a pencil, the material that makes the marks on paper. Lead makes the words, images, idle thoughts (doodles), specific information — crucial and otherwise — visible. With the lead from a pencil I can make thin delicate words and lines, bold […]

Studio Views: Pulp Painting


Pulp painting is easy to demonstrate, but difficult to explain. But I’ll give it a go. Cotton rag fiber suspended in water (a wet, messy, colorful slurry) is poured through hand-cut stencils (made from foam meat trays) onto a screen (a window screen will do). The result — an image in handmade paper. The paper […]

Studio Views: Sharpie Markers to the Rescue


Markers for art were a happy surprise. I was a pre-marker child and learned to draw and color with crayons. Markers were for addressing packages. Until Best Friends Think Alike, I illustrated my picture books with watercolor and black ink in a technical pen. In designing each of my books, I try to match method […]