Back in April of this year, I was honored to be invited to speak at the Webb School of Knoxville in TN for their annual Dumont Symposium of the Arts. This would be the first time I would be speaking to a group larger than one of my college classes, and I was terrified. Suddenly, I was taking that step as an author/illustrator where I would have to put the pencils and brushes down and actually talk about what it is I do and what I did to go from sitting in class to speaking in front of them.
Little did I know that talking to 500 high schoolers was going to such a BLAST!!! I had so much fun sharing my stories and work with them, not to mention I didn't trip on the stairs or sneeze into the microphone or anything. And to my elation, they seemed to like me in return, because they asked me to do an interview for their school paper as well as contribute an original illustration for the cover! I am very grateful to Webb for their support, encouragement and laughter.
Above is a scanned copy of the cover illustration, kindly sent to me by the editor. The figure on the left was drawn by me of the very talented senior named Louise who drew me, the figure on the right...drawing her. She did a great job!
Soon after speaking at Webb, I was asked to speak at an elementary school in Valparaiso, Florida. Bluewater Elementary has a student population of almost 750 of some of the most charming, attentive and enthusiastic kids I've had the pleasure of interacting with. They also asked some incredibly great questions, my favorite of which was when one boy in fourth grade asked me how many pieces of paper I've drawn on in my life.
Book signing for Bluewater!