My illustration career began around the time I learned to sign my name and discovered floors, walls and furniture made pretty neat canvasses. By the time I hit second grade, I became a tattoo artist for my classmates (also pretty neat canvasses) in spite of inadequate pay and their being forced to bathe.
Once I grew up a little, I worked for six years as an illustrator and graphic designer at a newspaper before I left to work on my own stuff. I got my first break in 2003 with a half-page illustration for the Weekly Reader. My next big break came in 2007 when the nice people at Lark Books asked me to illustrate Yikes! Wow! Yuck! Fun Experiments for Your First Science Fair. Any book with the word “Yuck” in the title is so where I’m coming from.
As for influences, I have quite a few, and my collection of kid’s books are alphabetized by illustrators (of course). Here is my dream list of illustrators who knock my socks off, along with one if-I-only-had-one-of-this-person’s-books-which-one-would-it-be pick.
- Shaun Tan The Rabbits
- Lane Smith The Stinky Cheese Man
- Rébecca Dautremer The Secret Lives of Princesses
- Kris DiGiacomo
- Gris Grimly Frankenstein
- Edward Gorey The Gashleycrumb Tinies (a classic)
- Stephen Gammell Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
- Oliver Jeffers The Incredible Book Eating Boy
- Skottie Young Fortunately, the Milk
- Jim Kay A Monster Calls
And then there are the books themselves that speak to me. These are a little harder to come by because I’m what publishers have come to call a “reluctant reader.” Yep. Girls can be that, too. Words, you know? My mind wanders off the page easily if the right words aren’t arranged in a way that keeps me focused. Pictures help, and I pretty much know from page one or so if I’ll be able to concentrate enough to read on. I grew up with a ton of books with permanent bookmarks somewhere around page five. So if the title is on this list it means that I’ve finished it, and it must be pretty good.
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
- The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
- A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
- Skellig by David Almond
- When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Like many artists, I am influenced by much of what surrounds me, but all of those things would be difficult to find links to, so here are a few of my all-time favorite things:
So, as I said before, thanks for stopping by, and let me know what you’re thinking.
My email is: info (at) nornie (dot) com.