The Gift of Art

I love writing picture books (especially when the writing’s going well).

I’ve now been privileged to be through the process a few times, and it is very clear that my favorite part, by far, is when I first see the illustrator’s vision for the book. It just happened again last week–you may have heard my squealing and howling and snorting at Henry Cole‘s brilliant sketches for BOGART & VINNIE: A COMPLETELY MADE-UP STORY OF TRUE FRIENDSHIP. You probably did. I was pretty loud.

What a gift! A talented illustrator read my words, thought about them, conceived a vision for them, and brilliantly executed that vision.

And it keeps happening! First Daniel Jennewein‘s buffalo!

Then Don Tate‘s gorgeous work for SHE LOVED BASEBALL: THE EFFA MANLEY STORY.

And the two books coming out next year–Kirstie Edmunds‘ illustrations for SO YOU WANT TO BE A ROCK STAR add so much to the story.

Steven Salerno‘s work on BROTHERS AT BAT: THE TRUE STORY OF AN AMAZING ALL-BROTHER BASEBALL TEAM is nothing short of incredible and awe-inspiring.

Last week I got to add to the list–Henry Cole’s Bogart. And Vinnie! I can’t wait to share them.

It’s an embarrassment of riches. I can’t believe my good fortune. Look at all that stunning art–not a clunker in the bunch. I am so grateful that the words I wrote turned into such beautiful books.

The first time anyone illustrated one of my stories was decades ago, for a short story in an obscure literary magazine. I remember where I was standing when I first saw it–in my tiny Charles Street apartment in Boston. It felt so remarkable–that someone had taken the time to do something like that. An artist had considered my words and come up with art in response.

WHAT is better than that?

It’s time for me to get back to novel writing. But on the side, I’ve decided to participate in Picture Book Idea Month, aka PiBoIdMo (mellifluous, no?). Thirty picture book ideas in 30 days. (I’ll also be guest blogging there with the ever-amazing Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich next month.)

I just love picture books. So yeah, my focus for the end of this year/beginning of next is a novel, but PICTURE BOOKS! I love the the prospect of 30 ideas  growing and ripening in the back of my brain while the rest of my mind is consumed with housebreaking a puppy, living through a kitchen renovation, and writing a novel.

And then, some day, I’ll get back to my PiBoIdMo ideas, find those that are sturdy enough to grow into solid texts and, with a lot of luck, maybe develop all the way through to that amazing, magical day when a fully fleshed out series of illustrations–a gift of art–arrives in my inbox or on my front porch.

I was spurred on to be a PiBoIdMo participant, in part, by the proclamation that’s been making the rounds. For the two of you who haven’t yet seen it:

Stay tuned, readers. I have some great interviews coming up, and some puppy photos, too.

About Audrey Vernick

Audrey Vernick writes books for young readers.
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6 Responses to The Gift of Art

  1. Tara says:

    I love the art in your books! I love the proclamation! And thanks for mentioning PiBoIdMo!

  2. MaryZ says:

    Audrey, Your creations are inspiring and proof that the picture book is not dead. Since first reading The Pokey Little Puppy, picture book art has been my favorite art form. I’ve also signed up for PiBoIdMo (thanks Tara), and hope for some home runs during my time at bat.

  3. great post! Good luck with PiBoIdMo this month! You go girl!

    I love the illo’s! True talent indeed!

  4. Ohmygosh! Henry Cole’s illustrations are amazing. No wonder you’re thrilled. Congratulations!
    I haven’t had a picture book published yet (someday. . .someday. . .) but I am always delighted to see how an illustrator chooses to accompany my stories and articles in periodicals. It is definitely quite satisfying.
    Your comment on my blog this morning made me laugh out loud (about pockets full of M&M’s). I read it just as I was contemplating whether or not to fill the candy bowls yet. There was the one side of me that reasoned I was being uber organized and getting a jump on things before the day got too hectic. But I couldn’t quite pull the wool over the eyes of the other side – the one that knew the only reason for filling the bowls early would be for my own afternoon snacking.
    Again, congrats on getting the sneak peek at the illustrations and good like with PiBoIdMo!!

  5. I love the proclamation. And good luck with PiBoIdMo.

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