I grew up in a pretty creative family. I have three brothers and one sister. There was a lot of music in our house, books and homemade projects, like toothpick constructions, paper mache' pinatas and wooden models. My mother helped us make puppets one time by mixing sawdust and glue together! Now that I am a parent, I think that was one of the most courageous things I have ever seen.
When I was really young, my family lived in France. Europe left a HUGE impression on me. Climbing winding staircases in castle towers and exploring ancient forests gave me a sense of history and adventure. We spent a lot of time outdoors. Wherever we lived, my siblings and I went exploring. We built tree forts and hideouts. I loved watching animals, insects, and turtles.
In school, I was that quiet kid who liked to read. In the third grade I fell in love with chapter books like Freddy The Detective , The Borrowers, and The Great Brain . I also drew a lot. I liked to draw space ships, race cars, castles and monster. I didn’t like to draw cats or bicycles. A cat riding a bicycle is still a hard thing to draw!! Becoming an illustrator seemed like the way to combine reading and drawing. Bringing stories to life was so exciting! Using my sense of humor to make kids and adults smile came naturally to me.
I ended up living in Maine after getting started in Boston. There is something about New England that really inspires me. Maybe it’s all the trees and water or just the changing seasons but the land reminds me a little of Europe and I love it. I work at home in a room upstairs. Working at home is nice. I get to see my family a lot and my schedule is pretty flexible. Winter is my best time to work because I can settle down and not be too distracted. Summer is my worst time to work! I love to garden and to explore the woods, mountains and beaches so I have to make myself stay on task.
Our family loves to make things and there are lots of projects going on all the time. Wood carving, weaving, sewing , gardening and blacksmithing are all skills that inspire me. My children have grown up walking through the books that I have illustrated. Every child has memories of certain illustrations taped to boards and propped upon my easel. I have over fifty books now and my last child is in high school. Fortunately, there are more books on the way!