Many thanks to author-illustrator Joyce Wan for inviting me to be part of this cool project!
Joyce and I met at a kidlit hangout in Brooklyn last year. She shared stickers from her adorable picture book YOU ARE MY CUPCAKE and Holly and I became instant fans of her sweet, yummy style. If you can think of it, Joyce has designed it -- wooden cards, stationery, apps, refrigerator magnets, even plushies. So talented!
Now on to the questions...
What am I currently working on?
I'm finishing a private commission this week. It's an unusual project that involved drawing things I don't usually draw. Things no one usually draws, in fact. It has been really fun.
After this, I'm diving into a picture book about a baby hedgehog for Philomel. A dangerously cute baby hedgehog. That's all I can really share about it right now.
I'm also in the early stages of writing a biography of Nobel Prize-winning scientist Rita Levy Montalcini, which I plan to illustrate and then sell to some wonderful editor who really loves science...and women...and hair!
And I recently told my agent I'm interested in illustrating someone else's manuscript for a change, so I'm waiting for the offers to start pouring in.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I've been told my work has a certain balance of gentleness and fun. It also has my name on it.
Why do I write what I write?
That depends on the project. I wrote BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE and BABY PENGUINS LOVE THEIR MAMA to capture my experiences as a new mom before they got away from me. I also love drawing baby penguins and the books gave me someplace to put them.
My hedgehog book is an attempt to get my sense of humor into a picture book, something I haven't succeeded at so far. My sense of humor mostly comes out when I'm defacing Skymall catalogues.
How does my individual writing/illustrating process work?
I go through the same steps as other picture book author-illustrators. I write a story. I make rough thumbnails. I develop my characters visually in my sketchbook, where no one can laugh at me, and work on my color palette at the same time, sticking big blotches of color on the studio wall. It sounds very active and methodical, but the truth is I spend a lot of time at the beginning just thinking. It's like the log flume ride at Six Flags Great Adventure. Once I go into the chute, things happen quickly, but it takes me a really long time to get into the chute.
Next up on the blog tour...
Jen Corace lives much too far away from me, in Rhode Island. She has illustrated lots of beautiful picture books including my niece's favorite, LITTLE PEA. Jen's next project is TELEPHONE, by Mac Barnett. It comes out in September and I'm really excited to see it!
Bob Shea has no trouble making his books funny. He wrote a book Holly loves called UNICORN THINKS HE'S PRETTY GREAT. His next book is a collaboration with Lane Smith called KID SHERIFF AND THE TERRIBLE TOADS. I'm super excited to see that, too.
If you want to see other stops on the tour so far, check out process posts by Mike Curato, Samantha Berger, Carin Berger, Elizabeth Rose Stanton, Ben Clanton, and Jennifer K. Mann, or search for the #mywritingprocess hashtag on Twitter.