I can't remember when I first started drawing. I began keeping a sketchbook in elementary school and still look through my old sketchbooks for ideas. While I always loved books, I didn't learn to read until second grade. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. When I went to college, I couldn't decide whether to study art or writing, so I combined the two and came up with illustration, which I studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art. While I was there, I also fell in love with ceramics and still make strange creatures from clay. After studying illustration, I went on to study writing for children through Simmons College at the Eric Carle Museum. While I worked on my MFA, I also worked as a book buyer at an independent bookstore, which taught me just as much about children's literature as graduate school. I currently work as a teacher, professor, and bookseller, and have been known to accidentally throw books at people when I'm excited (I haven't hit anyone yet).
A lot of people don't know that graphic novels are written using a lot more words than are published. When I write a graphic novel script, I describe what every panel in the graphic novel will look like, including the setting, characters, and even the point of view. However, only the editor and illustrator ever read these words.
I am a writer and illustrator, but I don’t illustrate everything I write. Often, it’s because I don’t think my illustration style suits the story I’ve written. It’s also exciting to work with an illustrator because he or she will find things in the writing I didn’t know were there, bringing something fresh and engaging to the story.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. I love to dance and a large part of my wardrobe consists of twirly skirts.
2. I grew up skiing in upstate New York and have done nordic, alpine, and telemark skiing. Due to this, I love snowy winters.
3. My brother and I made a pact in middle school that if one of us became a published author, the other would have to write something, too. (He'd better be writing something right now.)