When have you last thought about the books you loved as a child? Did these favorites inspire you towards the career and/or hobbies you have today? For me, the answer to both of these questions is a “YES!”
When I was young, anything by Dr. Seuss was a hit!
The rhyme and colorful characters are playful and exciting, making the text and illustrations appear to move across the page.
A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh is another favorite. The storyline is a much-loved classic, and the “decorations” by Ernest H. Shepard are mesmerizing.
I would lose myself in my imagination as I looked at the drawing of the Hundred Acre Wood and made my way to Piglet’s house.
I especially love Earnest H. Shepard’s seemingly simple line illustrations. A style I prefer even today — without color and incomplete edges/scenes leaving the child to fill in the gaps with her own imagination.
I also love how text and images play together to enhance the movement on the page.
I sometimes think we include too much image detail in today’s children’s books. I believe, depending on the book, there needs to be a balance between images and words — less [image] is more.
Just because we can do full-color three-dimensional designs and illustrations in today’s software doesn’t mean we have too.
Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree is another example of line art illustration that I love, but this book was not added to my library until I purchased it to read to my daughter in the 1990s.
However, the children’s book that has had the biggest impact on me personally, and professionally, is Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon.
I am not sure at what age I started reading Harold and the Purple Crayon, but the book seems to have always been in my possession.
This copy, however, was one I bought for my daughter (I believe) when she was very young.
It is terrible when you cannot remember things such as this, but there is one thing I know, I would have never scribbled on all the pages. That is my daughter’s handy work.
This book had the biggest impact on my creativity during my fourth and fifth grade school years. I have strong memories of getting into bed and slipping under the covers, then reading this book to get my imagination rolling on my next adventure. It would not take long till I was drawing my own stories on my bedroom walls, with my mind’s eye, eventually falling asleep.
Harold and the Purple Crayon inspired me to imagine countless childhood adventures, in addition to helping me develop my creative and writing style as an adult. It is an adventurous story that simply starts with a line.
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I started writing my first children’s book in the mid-1990s, and to date, I have five children’s books in various stages of completion (plus a few non-fiction).
I also plan to do the illustrations on all my children’s books except for one…maybe two. Although I am trained in the arts, it is good to know when the characters and settings in your story are beyond your capability to illustrate on the page; or require a different art style. At least I think so.
Since I have so many books “in the works,” I was beginning to worry that I am rather odd by not focusing on one book at a time. However, I have come to learn from writer’s groups, my research, and conferences that I am not alone.
However, even though I no longer feel odd that I’m writing so many books at one time, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m one of those “Plenty-of-Time Procrastinators” that I learned about when I stumbled upon Alpha Efficiency’s article, “4 Types of Procrastination and How to Beat Them.”
Oh, dear. Oh ddd-dear, dear!
The article goes on to say that one way to beat “plenty-of-time procrastinator” is to set a deadline. Once you have created your deadline, you should tell your friends, family, readers, et all of the date. By publicly doing so, it will help you keep on track and motivated to meet that deadline.
Public Notice: Garden Poem book to be self-published by September 2020, just in time for the Holidays.
So, as I have publicly announced above, the time has come to finish the illustrations on my first “completed” book, the written portion of which I actually completed several years ago — a children’s poem about a garden.
Over the next few months, until my September deadline, I’ll share snippets (very small snippets, after all, it’s a poem) and some artwork from my little garden, until I announce its release in September 2020.
But before I go, I would love if you would share with me your favorite children’s book and how it has inspired you in your adult life; just used the comment section below.