David Wiesner is my idol. Have you read Tuesday, when frogs start flying on their lily pads like magic carpets? When I say read, I really mean looked at, because there are no words. The story is all told in pictures. Or Flotsam, which is such a fascinating story, also told purely in pictures, I’ll let you discover it for yourselves. Or my favorite, The Three Pigs, where the pigs leave the wolf hungry and bewildered as they step off the pages of their book and then start to rescue creatures from other books? Weisner’s illustrations are elegant, funny and realistic enough to make you believe pigs can fly and octopuses have underwater living rooms.
For a few years, I was convinced that if I wanted to be a picture book illustrator, I had to have a whimsical style, like Maurice Sendak or Sandra Boynton, both author/illustrators whose books I adore. I thought I needed to stop being so realistic. During those years I wrote, but my attempts to illustrate went nowhere. I finally decided to embrace my own style and my own strengths. (Duh.) I hope whatever you are working on, you don't try to fit someone else's mold. Be inspired by others, but be who you are.