I come from a creative family. I had a great uncle who painted sets for the New York theater at the turn of the century. My mom went to art school (she later became an elementary school teacher) and my dad was a writer. I have been interested in art since I was young, and by 1st grade kids would pay me to draw their portraits! When I was 15, my parents sent me to Saturday art classes at the Philadelphia College of Art (now called University of the Arts). My teacher, Milton Feldman, was very important to my development as an artist. I dedicated the first children’s book I ever worked on (The Giraffe That Walked to Paris) to him.
I graduated from Pratt University in 1980, with a degree in fine art. I have been a working artist ever since. I’ve done everything from painting murals in restaurants to illustrating a column in the New York Times(I did that for 4 years). I’ve been illustrating children’s books since 1982.
I’ve based the two children’s books I’ve written on real life experiences. I used to work as a sign painter, and the man who owned the company, Clarence, was the inspiration for The Sign Painter’s Dream. I love to go ice fishing with my friends, Chris, Ed and Rick. That theme turned up in Fishing for Methuselah.
My editorial work has appeared in many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Barron’s. I’ve also done a lot of work for advertising agencies.
Over the years, my work has drawn a lot of positive attention. My editorial work has been selected for the Best of Newspaper Design Annual, the International Graphic Annual of Advertising and Editorial Graphics, and The Society of Illustrator’s Humor Exhibition. My children’s books have received high marks, and were selected for the Society of Illustrators’ Original Art Exhibition. The two things I’m proudest of are that The Sign Painter’s Dream was featured on “Reading Rainbow,” and that Fishing for Methuselah was chosen for a Golden Archer Award by the children of Wisconsin. Awards are nice, but what means the most to me is that kids care about what I do.
When I’m not working on a children’s book, visiting a school, or doing an editorial illustration, you can find me at the University of the Arts, where I’m a senior lecturer in the illustration program, or at the Delaware College of Art and Design, where I also teach illustration.
My wife Darlene, a writer and editor, was my collaborator on Star of the Week. It’s a story about a girl who resembles our wonderful daughter, Eden. We live outside of Philadelphia with our dogs, Dobo and Drizzle.