7. Q&A: Why do you illustrate? Why not just make art pieces to hang on a wall?

Illustrations can be
hung on a wall.
A: While I do enjoy making traditional paintings for viewing on a wall, there is something so enjoyable about creating pieces that tell a story.  I enjoy being a story teller and not necessarily depending on words to do it.  Don't get me wrong, I love it when the words and pictures "dance" together but each illustration needs to be strong enough as a stand-alone without being the handmaiden of a description beside it. I also apply this theory when making work for serious subject matter, such as when news articles or educational books call for title or cover art.  The most gratifying challenge is to make an illustration that says everything it needs to and leaves the door open for some interpretation.

FUN FACT: When I was a child I used to read a bunch of stories and then make my own sequels to the stories I read, ie: Madeline goes to the USA!  (I'm sure I have some of my homemade books somewhere in my parents' basement). I also played with legos, action figures and stuffed animals and then would get really excited about the story line I had just created.  I would become so ecstatic that I would basically document what I had just done through a hand crafted children's book. Playing is important! I find it amusing that I can still remember how I felt when I played with my toys and the excitement it generated, leading me to do something creative on paper following my playtime.  It is just as gratifying when others who look at my work express that same sense of enjoyment and delight.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHT: Illustration is a highly collaborative endeavor.  Many of the writer/illustrator teams that have inspired me the most have had long term collaborative relationships, which is another element of illustration that draws me specifically to this field.  More to come on collaboration and crafting your own unique voice within the context of a team in future posts!