I was asked to contribute to a new blog honoring Tomie dePaola for his 75th birthday AND for his life long gift to all of us- his books.
I first saw Mr.dePaola 2 years ago @ the NYC SCBWI winter conference. Altho, I haven't met him- he's been popping up in my life over and over again. I asked my mother if we had any of his books growing up. She knew of him instantly - remembering reading them to us. Off I went to order a few online and immerse myself in his world.
Here's a few things I've learned from studying 3 of his books and drawing his characters.
1. Simple is deceiving. If art looks simply done- simply colored- don't assume it's easy. When it is done well- or really well- like Pancakes for Breakfast; It's actually harder to do. Every element stands out- and you have to be a really great designer to do less. Ya know the whole less is more thing- one of these days I'll get it.
2. I know why my mother liked the books. Now that I've read them as a mother; and not a Snoopy crazed child. You want children to have books that are like warm hugs. Tomie's are.
3. You can learn a lot from drawing other people's characters. -I did know this from the years in cartoon licensing but never applied it to illustration. Like all of the artists parked in front of master paintings at the Met - I may just park myself in front of Tomie's this weekend at the Carle.
Go Check it out and Happy B'day Mr. dePaola!
Three Kisses for Tomie