As a child I found it strange that few picture books showed children in everyday clothes at everyday places like Wal-Marts and grocery stores. Many people do take children to these kinds of stores, it is part of their every day existence. Picture books prefer children dressed in well matched clothes. Even recent books like Boss Baby follow this trend…Baby’s suit could be out of a Brooks Brother’s shop. I read that in the case of Dick and Jane, artists modeled clothes after department store catalogues.. It has always bothered me that many children don’t care much what they wear- they even don’t care when their clothes become terribly stained. Yet our books for them reflect adult fears of cleanliness.
I never draw specific children. I just watch the ones I see and observe them carefully, trying to capture something of a look or movement in an entirely different, imaginary child. I try to get better, to practice, to learn from mistakes. Maybe some day I’ll finally feel satisfied with them. The child’s world is filled with imagination, but from what I see of the New York publishing world, it is filled with rules, taboos and backroom deals. But I must keep going. Someone once told me that courage is not seeing the lions and not being afraid, but seeing the lions and walking onward. Except I hope I don’t get eaten by the lions!