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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 about the medium I’m using now is, every morning I get up to it, or sit down with it, and I try just a little red with it, and BANG I have the same trouble with that red as I did yesterday. But that’s the medium I’m using now. Cat hair. Did I mention cat hair? There will be no cat hair problems with the new medium. Also, and this is important, my new medium is not going to be the kind of medium that would have me work for months with it, finish page upon page of paintings using it, only to find, after some reflection, that I am disgusted with both it and them. Tools--ChrisMy next medium is the medium I never looked at through the spaces between my fingers, hands over my eyes.

My next medium is going to flow like mad, fluid, yes, mmm, like honey but not so sticky, like butter but not so greasy, like melted chocolate but cool.

All that I ask of a medium is that it let me create something that looks like you could hold it, like a real object, something that could carry some story along. That it look like it was really easy to do, just this side of uncouth, held there by the lightest touch, that still satisfies me just as colored shapes and lines. I want a medium that can be applied simply, casually, which, if repeated and layered in some hitherto unfathomed sequence, will knock me on the head and make me leave my table to dance the Hucklebuck.

From the March/April 1998 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: Picture Books. Click on the tag Studio Views for more illustrators.

About Chris Raschka

Chris Raschka is a two-time Caldecott Medal–winning author/illustrator. His books include A Ball for Daisy, The Hello, Goodbye Window, Yo? Yes!, and Charlie Parker Played Be Bop.

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