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Hello

It's fun to pick up a great book. It's even more fun to pick up a great book from someone you know. I can't fly out and meet everyone individually, as fun as that would be, but I can tell you a little bit about me and how I became an author and illustrator. I hope you enjoy.

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My Story

Remember school? What group were you apart of?

I was always the drawing guy.

 

I drew comics, games, cartoons—all the stuff kids love. For reasons I've never understood, I never considered a career as an artist. If I did, I would have become a comic book artist.

I did pretty well in school, and after graduation I went to college where I experimented with becoming a historian, a teacher, a scholar—I was all over the place. Eventually, because I was out of ideas, I settled into Studio Art. I learned color theory, 2D and 3D art techniques, drawing, painting, printmaking and graphic design. As late as my senior year, I didn't really think I would be a professional artist.

Graphic design is an amazingly practical skill, and it came in handy after college. A buddy of mine left his job as the designer at a screen printing company and suggested I take his spot, which is exactly what what happened. I made graphics for t-shirts, key chains, hats, mugs, towels and tons of other swag for years, right up until my first child was about to be born.

Backing up for a second—I had always been a freelancer. This began with odd jobs on Elance.com or making things for friends and family. The freelance work escalated into various projects and picked up to the point where I considered doing it full time.

Like William Wallace, I love freedom. Deep down, I'd secretly nursed the idea that I'd go into business for myself. My business, my rules, my schedule. Just before my first child was born, I felt like it was time to make the leap. Most people would say that having a child is exactly the wrong time to quit your job and strike out on your own, but my perspective was that my time was about to vanish, so I might as well get started. Besides, I could always get another job if this thing didn't work out.

It was a slow start, but every year was a little better. I learned skills, my focus narrowed, and then the day came when I accidentally became a children's book illustrator. Here's how it happened:

I was in an art store—my in-law's store, by the way—at the same time as a guy who'd written a book. Pure chance. He needed an artist and I was interested, so we teamed up on a book called "The Amazing Mr. Cardinal." In trying to get our book published I met a woman who offered to put me on a list of illustrators for their authors to use. That was it. From that day on I had a steady supply of books to work on. At the time I wrote this I've illustrated over 30 books.

After reading loads of manuscripts, I'd begun to develop my own philosophy of writing. "I'd do this. I wouldn't do that. This is good. This makes no sense, etc." I think I need to make my own book, which is how I self-published "Dance and Play the Animal Way." I've continued to self-publish since then. My goal is to make books that entertain while they spark children's imaginations.

 

Our imaginations are a precious resource, especially in this age of rapid change. Life is moving faster than ever.

Here is some random information about me: I love coffee. I make it pour-over style at home. I've been an avid reader since childhood, including a lot of non-fiction. I could spend all my time reading about various subjects. My in-laws own an art supply store and my wife is a potter. I enjoy cooking. I love public speaking. My movie takes are usually contrarian.

And that's about it for now! Hopefully, you've got a feel for who I am. Thank you so much for reading.

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