How did you become an illustrator?
When I was little, I got pegged as “the little artist kid.” I went to college at Kansas University and studied illustration there. After that, I was hired by Hallmark Cards as what’s considered an art director. I don’t think I could do this job without having had that experience of working with hundreds of other artists and seeing their styles.
What is a typical workday like for you?
I have the easiest, coolest job in the world, but I work an insane number of hours, and they’re not always in a straight line. It’s not eight hours a day, and it’s not always the same. But what it allowed me to do was have the absolute luxury of walking my [now grown] kids to school in the morning, walking back and working.
People have very romantic ideas of having a studio space in their home. What’s it like?
I have to say, it is a romantic idea – for an artist to have a space where they can create on their own and they don’t have to put anything away, it’s just the hugest luxury. Even for people doing this as a hobby: Find a space in your house where you don’t have to put away your paints.
So, you’ve illustrated a children’s book – out next month – for Bob Dylan, using the lyrics to “If Not for You.” Wow.
It’s his third children’s book … [and uses] exactly the lyrics of his song. You can’t change them a bit, which makes it a little quirky for a children’s book, but the first two books stayed [with] ’70s throwback, retro-looking artwork to go along with the Bob Dylan thing, and the publisher wanted to try this cuter approach. Parents and grandparents will pick it up because it’s Bob Dylan, but kids are going to like it or not like it because of these big-headed characters. So it’s an experiment, and we’ll see how it works!