A picture is worth 1,000 words


I must admit, I am jealous of illustrators.  Especially the double-threat folks – illustrators who write, or should that be writers who illustrate? Either way, despite practically minoring in Studio Art in college, I’m toast.  I can’t draw – or rather, I can’t draw well. Let me tell you a little story:

It’s a lovely spring afternoon, and I am wiping down my litho stone, having run a final series of lithographs for my advanced printmaking class.  My esteemed professor walks by and leans in.  I swallow hard.  We all know his true criticism is given on the fly, not left for the end of semester critiques. He smiles and lays a hand on my arm.  I relax.  Then he tells me that I have a future in printmaking.  As a printer’s tech.  (Meaning I’d be great at running prints of OTHER people’s work.  Ink the plates and stones, lay the paper, run the press.)  Sigh.

Talk about a left-handed compliment.  Now I can laugh – and realize that he honestly meant well.  Often, printers make more money than the artists who employ them.

I followed a different path, and one that uses what gifts I have.  Still, I love illustration.  Even if just as a fan. So, I’m going to make sure that I get to see a new exhibit that literally popped into my e-mail:

The Society of Illustrators is celebrating Maurice Sendak! From June 11th until August 17th, Maurice Sendak: A Celebration of the Artist and His Work is showing at the Museum of American Illustration, located at 128 East 63rd Street, between Park and Lexington Avenues.  How can I resist the chance to see over 200 original works by Mr. Sendak?  (Plus it’ll give us something cool to do on a hot June day.)

Here’s to all the illustrators who make such wonderful art to cover our books, head our chapters, and offer a new perspective on our words!



One thought on “A picture is worth 1,000 words

  1. Leslie, as soon as I read your first sentence, it brought to mind something I told a “now successful and becoming famous” picture book author when her sentiment was the same as yours as far as not being able to illustrate. To protect identities, they are now “So-and-Sos,” but this is what I pointed out to her and now to you, in case you haven’t considered it:

    So-and-So, I have to tell you, and don’t get me wrong—-I’m very grateful I have art talent—-BUT—it’s not necessarily the better thing here. The picture books I’ve written, I naturally want to illustrate because I imagine them as I go and I can execute most of what I imagine (all but one book so far). That hasn’t gotten me anywhere and possibly interferes with me getting published. I just don’t know. But your story (I can’t wait to buy it!) is obviously great, enough so that they wanted to get So-and-So2 to illustrate it.

    The other thing is: illustrating is exTREMEly time-consuming! It’s why I hesitate putting myself out there as just an illustrator (not that I would turn it down if the offer came up! lol I’m broke!). One of my picture books took a couple of nights to write, but to create the characters and dummy took 4 months! So, there’s also the perspective of actually being able to have a life when you only write the text! 😀 See what I mean? 😀

    So, Leslie, I hope you find a bit of consolation in that 🙂 Enjoy Maurice!

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