"What's some childhood books you remember?"
I bet several stories popped up into your head. Maybe Dr. Seuss? Or maybe it was "Where the Sidewalk Ends," "Velveteen Rabbit," or maybe even "Three Little Pigs," "Goldilocks," "The Giving Tree," or something else entirely.
For me, I want to write one of those books that are remembered. I want to write stories that are so captivating that they stay with someone into adulthood, something that people find so important, they carry it with them into the future.
As a child, I had always written journals filled with stories. They had multiple chapters and they were actually sort of morbid, but they were an adventure. There was one story I used to write about, but sadly never finished. It was about two children that became orphans because one of the children harassed the father to turn around to look at her grade. When the father turned around, their car crashed and killed the parents. The siblings had powers and some other children at the orphanage did as well. Something happened and a man warned the children of something. I am annoyed to say that I left it at a cliffhanger so I never actually figured out what the warning was for, but I certainly don't regret having made that story. It had mistakes and seemed a little bit cringe-worthy, but it was a foundation of when I started writing.
Then, I swayed on and off from writing and started drawing birds and flowers via watercolor on the side. The birds were actually overly realistic and my father never believed I did it, but his surprise always moved me. Making people was a bi*** though. Hands were a straight negative.
I have jumped back and forth on what I wanted to do. I was not sure how I could mix the two or even where to start, but I knew I wanted to leave something that my younger brother could read and keep. I wanted to leave a memory behind. Animating passed through my head, and so did storyboarding for tv shows, but both of those did not feel right. I did not like the idea of it being my full-time job. I wanted it to be kept as a hobby, something I would do for fun if I wanted to. I wanted to be able to create my own work, be my own boss. The idea of being stuck in a building and ordered around for every small thing stuck with me like a sandpaper glued to my feet.
Somehow, I came across the idea of being a children's book illustrator. It definitely is not easy and it is a competitive field, but the competition does not scare me. I am actually far from intimidated about it. For me, the goal is to create a book that a child likes and finds personally important. I want to show as much representation as possible, while also being able to create the books myself, think of the ideas myself. There are so many ideas always roaming around and I feel that children will find anything to be fun. I mean, "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" was a great book. I could send people on a fast adventure and then start a whole new one if I wanted to.
For me, being a children's book illustrator is leaving a memory, doing something that is fun; something that never lets me lose that childish glee and bounds people away into chocolate lands with witches and gnomes.
It is magic.
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