1. When did you first realize you wanted to be an illustrator?
When I was in 2nd grade I found a collection of “How to Draws Books”, from cars to monsters and almost everything in between. From that point on I was constantly drawing, and collecting books that inspired me. Throughout my life I’ve always been deeply grateful to have the unending support of my family to pursue my dream to be an illustrator. They helped provided me with books, supplies and extra curricular art classes to fuel the creativity.
2. How do you come up with the character designs for Ready, Set, Sail!?
I wanted to create an unlikely duo to be shipmates. Sort of like those fun friend combos that often happen in the wild, like an elephant and a dog or a deer and bunny. So I pitched 2 pairs. Bear and Pig, or Tiger and Turtle. In the end I love that Tiger and Turtle were chosen because they both feel like a perfectly matched odd couple. A lot like Meg and me. We both bring unique talents and personalities to the adventure and that’s what makes it so special. Of course, Bear and Pig do make a little cameo.
3. Which page from Ready, Set, Sail! was your favorite to illustrate? Why?
That’s like picking a favorite child … too tough. But I did really enjoy the underwater scene because all my life I’ve been enamored with the deep sea and the strange creatures lurking beneath. I think if I wasn’t an illustrator, I’d wish to be a deep sea diver or marine biologist. The imaginative creatures that fill our oceans are wildly inspiring to me. Overall though, i really did just have a boat load of fun learning more about sailing from Meg’s wondrous writing style and bringing those technical terms to life!
4. What do you like to do when you’re not illustrating?
Playing basketball with my family is pretty tip top on the list. I also really love to practice puppeteering with my youngest daughter, strum on my banjo or guitar, write songs, and unwind by watching movies!
5. What was your favorite book to read as a child?
Impossible to choose only one, so…the three that I find myself always going back to is Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (I adored his dark humor and odd drawings), Oh, The Places We’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss (whenever I need a pick me up and kick of inspiration this one is perfect) and The Little Golden Book The Monster At The End of This Book (this is truly the first book I can remember reading and feeling really inspired by the way it engaged me to turn the page and wanting to make art that was that silly and clever). Three books that really formed my imagination and inspired me onward … and still do to this day!