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Studio Views: Erasing Pictures

I was asked recently to describe the way I paint pictures for picture books. I was very surprised by this request because I thought that by now every soul in America had either read about, heard, or seen me and my amazing little art demonstration, in which I show exactly how I make the pictures […]

Studio Views: Paperies and Trash Cans

I love paper. It doesn’t matter where it comes from as long as I can touch it. This causes my boyfriend no end of consternation. “Don’t touch that!” he’ll screech as I spot something sticking out of somebody’s trash container. “You don’t know where it’s been!” For me, it doesn’t matter where it’s been, as […]

Studio Views: Watching for Accidents

The boards of my studio floor are strewn with scraps of paper like so many flower petals let go from their stems following an abrupt wind. The eye of that wind storm is where I like to work. The discarded pieces of paper swirl to the floor and make a lovely mess around my feet, […]

Studio Views: My Favorite Medium

I asked Martha what her favorite medium was, and she said: “Medium-rare, although rare, medium, and well-done are all perfectly acceptable.” My favorite medium is the pencil. I love the pencil. It feels like a natural extension of my hand. I’m comfortable and confident with a pencil. But not just any pencil. My pencil is […]

Studio Views: Why I Use Oil Paints So Much

I like to think that the story I’m illustrating tells me what medium to use on it. And I have used quite a few materials over the years. But there does seem to be a preponderance of oil paints on the roster. Could this represent an actual preference on my part? I’ve had to sit […]

News from Down Under: Turning Heads

Picture books for older readers. The topic is a hot one in Australia, particularly in regard to the Book of the Year Awards. Should this art form be judged shoulder to shoulder with the more traditional picture book for a very young child? Who reads these books, anyway? As the controversy whirls on, however, the […]

Three Mentors

I was illustrating before I knew what illustrating means. And I knew Hans Christian Andersen stories before I knew who he was. I was always drawing because I was a child growing up in the age before television, computers, and iPhones. I did not know anything about the size of my country or the politics […]

What Is a Picture Book?

by Esther Averill from Caldecott Medal Books: 1938–1957 edited by Bertha Mahony Miller and Elinor Whitney Field; published by The Horn Book, 1957 The time has come to attempt a critical appraisal of the twenty books which have won the Caldecott Award for their illustrators. I almost wish the task had fallen to another person, […]

Absorbing Pictures and What They Say

“It’s language that’s intellectual,” notes Michael Hazanavicius, director of the 2012 Academy Award-winning silent film The Artist. “Images are about feelings.” Different images, different feelings. Distinct images, distinct feelings. A closed door is a mystery. What’s inside? Who will come out? One house sits prettily in a garden, set apart — vines curving up in […]

November is Picture Book Month

On Thursday the Horn Book will launch its contribution to Picture Book Month — which you may or may not be aware of. Last year Dianne de Las Casas came up with the idea of celebrating PBs with their own month, in part as a response to a 2010 article in the New York Times that said […]