To be a children’s book illustrator was my original dream. It was the Crayola® of the profession as far as I was concerned.
When it came time for me to gather up my portfolio after art school and begin the journey on my yellow brick road to children’s book stardom, I came up against the comment that my work was “ too sophisticated for children’s books”. This comment occurred more than once and I was always somewhat baffled by it. Especially because everyone else who looked at my work said, “You’d be great for children’s books!”.
As my career progressed I did eventually get some work in the children’s book market but usually in the form of textbooks or music books for kids. Not until many years later was I able to break into the hallowed world of picture books.
I’ve tried over the years to figure out what is was about my style that held publishers back from taking more of a chance on me; did my work look too old fashioned? Did I not show that I could be consistent with a character? I know my work isn’t graphic or quirky. It doesn’t have a childlike simplicity or cinematic realism. It doesn’t have that special something that wins artists Caldecott awards or entrance into the Society of Illustrators Children’s Shows.
Maybe I’ll have to pull out my Purple Crayon and start dreaming again… that is if the Wild Things don’t get me first.
©Janice Fried 2012
The summer always starts with grand plans of things I want to do, people I want to see and places I want to go. Usually the plans I have at the beginning of the summer bear no relation to what I actually did or didn’t do. This summer was no different.
There was our wonderful town pool of course where we spent many evenings with a thermos of cocktails, watching our son do double somersaults off the diving board.
There was a trip to visit my wonderful dear friend in Olympia, Washington, that despite my initial anxiety about traveling alone was a trip full of love.
There was the untimely death of a local man who coached my son’s Little League team one season. He was a widower with two children whose good humor touched many in our small community.
There was the planned visit from my brother and his family who live many thousands of miles away. It was their first visit here as a family in three years.
Their trip coincided with my parent’s 60th wedding anniversary.
We finally got to see the new Yankee Stadium for the first time courtesy of my cousin. It was my son’s first Yankee game and luckily, they won.
There was the birth of our friend’s baby in late August.
Baby shower card for our friends Alex and Kristy
There was a short vacation to the beach for a couple of nights and a long talked about dinner with friends.
There was lots of time and little time.
But now summer’s haze is beginning to dissipate and I can feel the clarity and creative energy of autumn creeping in.