Archive for November, 2009

Eric Carle

November 30, 2009

Biography courtesy of

Eric Carle is acclaimed and beloved as the creator of brilliantly illustrated and innovatively designed picture books for young children.

Eric was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1929, and moved with his parents to Germany when he was six years old. After graduating from art school, he returned to America, the land of his happiest childhood memories, and found work as a graphic designer.

After seeing an advertisement designed by Eric, respected educator and author, Bill Martin Jr, called to ask him to illustrate a story he had written. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, with its distinctive collage style, was the result of their collaboration. This favorite was the beginning of Eric Carle’s true career. Soon Eric was writing his own stories, developing a close bond with Ann Beneduce, the founder of Philomel Books, who would be his editor for nearly 40 years. In 1969 they published the celebrated classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which has eaten its way into the hearts of literally millions of children all over the world and has been translated into more than 30 languages. Since this beginning, Eric Carle has illustrated more than seventy books, many best sellers, most of which he also wrote.

The secret of Eric Carle’s books’ appeal lies in his intuitive understanding of and respect for children, who sense in him instinctively someone who shares their most cherished thoughts and emotions. He says “I believe the passage from home to school is the second biggest trauma of childhood; the first is, of course, being born.

Indeed, in both cases we leave a place of warmth and protection for one that is unknown. The unknown often brings fear with it. In my books I try to counteract this fear, to replace it with a positive message. I believe that children are naturally creative and eager to learn. I want to show them that learning is really both fascinating and fun.”

Eric Carle has two grown-up children, a son and a daughter. He and his wife Barbara divide their time between Massachusetts and Florida.

Thank you for celebrating one of the superstars of children’s literature with us here at the Doodle Diner!

A Hungry Caterpillar Tribute

November 24, 2009

This is my sketchbook tribute to Eric Carle. I remember reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” when I was in Kindergarten. I always thought the colors were fantastic! I thought it would be difficult to draw a cut paper technique, so I decided to draw a caterpillar with similar features and really link it to his famous caterpillar with his genius color selections!

PRISCILLA BURRIS visits the doodle diner!

November 23, 2009

We are breaking out our finest paper napkins and polishing up the mismatched silverware for this! We’ve been baking pie and brewing coffee so pull up a chair and prepare to indulge! We are so pleased to have the illustrious Priscilla Burris in our humble diner. From all the motley doodlers and our friends, “THANKS, Priscilla, FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US!” (actually, their individual imaginary responses are:
Roberta: “Woohoo! Welcome to our diner!”
Teri: “Today’s pies are blueberry, pumpkin, cherry, and banana cream. Let us know when you are ready to order.”
Kathleen: “We also have fresh berries. I picked them myself this morning.”
Candace: “Thanks so very much for coming!”
Linda: “Here, catch!” (tossing Priscilla a pencil…just in case it is needed!)
David: “Are you gonna eat that pie?”
Mike: slugging David in the arm, “Well, are you?”
Val: “Don’t mind them, and of course, yours is on the house. Enjoy!”

When did you first realize you wanted to illustrate children’s books? Growing up across my neighborhood street from our local public library was where my love of picturebooks began. I was always creating art, doodling and drawing, but it was taking a college course for Early Childhood Education that finally opened my eyes to a career in illustrating children’s books. The final project was, in fact, to write and illustrate a children’s picturebook!

As a child, what were some of your favorite books? Any book by Syd Hoff was a favorite of mine. Beverly Cleary books.

Who are some of the artists and/or authors who inspire you? Artists: Syd Hoff. Margaret Bloy Graham. Mark Buehner.
Authors: Jill Barklem (Brambly Hedge Series), Bill Martin, Jr., Dav Pilkey, Daniel Pinkwater

People probably ask you “How long does it take to paint one of the pages?” The best answer I heard for this came from an art teacher. Someone asked him how long it took to make a painting. He said, “My whole life up to that point.” Besides the paintings taking “your whole life” to paint, which in reality, is very true, can you give our readers an idea of how long it might take you to complete the artwork in one of your books? Anywhere from one month to 4 months for the final art to be completed.

Many of our readers are illustrators that have been working hard to break into the industry, or who have done so recently. What advice can you give them? Persevere. Keep at it. Stay on top of what’s being published, immersing yourself in picturebooks on a regular basis.
Take note on what illustrative work moves or inspires you. Above all, be professional and be You!

In what ways do you feel the industry has changed in the past twenty years?Seems more competitive, both in the number of illustrators submitting as well as in the amount of available publishers

In what ways do you feel it has stayed the same?Quality stories and illustrations that evoke heartfelt, humorous and memorable emotions are still needed out there!

What are your favorite and least favorite things about your profession?Creating and developing the characters is a top favorite of mine, especially illustrating their emotions and expressions!
I always say I can’t not work as an illustrator, because I love doing this so much!
Least favorites would be some of the business aspects, especially when a project is cancelled. Rare, but it happens.

Can you tell us something funny or insightful that a child has said to you during a book-signing or school visit? During a school visit, after reading my ‘Five Green And Speckled Frogs’ to first-graders, one little boy asked me if I also did the pictures for the book,
and when I answered yes, he broke out in a huge smile and said, ‘DANG, you’re good!’.
Another first-grader wrote a note to me that said, “The most interesting part was when you knowed how to be an artist. You are the best drawer in the whole wide world!”

Based on your own experience, and despite popular belief or common teachings, how do you think being an author/illustrator is different from being just an author or just an illustrator in terms of submitting stories to publishers? As an author/illustrator we have the distinct opportunity to submit a dummy as well as a manuscript for our books. We come as one package to the publisher, which is in itself a benefit to both!

One of the great things about this industry is that each artist embarks upon his/her own journey. Almost as amazing is that each book also has a life of its own. Does one of your books have a special story you would like to share with us?The Tale Of Jack Frost (Scholastic, Cartwheel Books Nov 08), written by Marcia T. Jones; This book involved something very unfamiliar to me – frost! It was a delight to work on and research what a little town and a little boy would experience living in a frozen setting. Not only did I find photos of frost, snow, and all things related, I also enjoyed movies that had a ‘snow’ base and setting. Always great to get in the ‘mood’ of a story. Research can be so much fun!

What types of things should artists consider before agreeing to work with an agent?Realize that while an agent can open doors for you that you don’t even know are out there, a professional illustrator should continue to self-promote and network in every way possible. I believe an illustrator ready for an agent ought to have this mindset: “I’m on this illustrator career path, and I’d like you to travel this journey with me”.

Now for the big question! When you visit a diner, what would you be most likely to order from the menu? Strong, hot coffee, a club sandwich, and of course a slice of warm berry pie a la mode!

Thank you for taking time to share your experiences with us. Anything else you would like to add before getting back to your artwork?Other illustrators and authors truly inspire me. I love to visit their blogs and websites, and of course, read their books!

Priscilla’s work can be seen in a variety of places. Here are a few links:

Eric Carle…interviews

November 23, 2009

Another wonderful interview with ERIC CARLE

Eric Carle talks about Brown Bear

November 17, 2009

Eric Carle tribute

November 11, 2009


Head to Toe at the Doodle Diner

November 8, 2009

gorilla2from-head-to-toe “I’m a gorilla and I thump my chest. Can you do it?   I can do it!”

Head to Toe by Eric Carle introduces children to movement and exercise with his vibrant pictures and rhythmic word game!

Kathleen Rietz at the Doodle Diner!

November 8, 2009

Hi everyone! I am Kathleen Rietz and Have been a part of this group since the beginning, but I have spent a large majority of the past year illustrating children’s books and traveling. I am finally posting for the first time at the Doodle Diner! Yay!

Detail from "Little Black Ant on Part Street".

1.If you could only use one colour to draw or paint with forever and ever, which colour would you use?

Dark Sepia

2.What do you most often draw when on the phone?

I doodle faces mostly…sometimes circles and boxes when I am trying to organize my thoughts.

3.Your studio is…

Full of brushes, pencils, paints, inks, paper, drawings and paintings, and all other things “art” from over the past 40 years.

4.Other than your personal style what illustration style are you drawn to and would you ever consider trying it?

A year ago, while working on 2 children’s books simultaneously, I began drawing simple still lifes. Putting in hours of drawing for children, I felt I needed “adult conversation”, sort of like mothers of young children need. For me that meant rediscovering my roots in fine art in its most simplistic medium – graphite. I stole hours from sleep to pursue my new passion for art, working on the children’s book illustrations during the day and my fine art in the middle of the night. This past September I entered my first fine arts show. I sold 5 drawings that weekend. I am now looking forward to my second fine art show this December.

5.What forms of marketing your work do you employ?

In the past, I have sent out postcards, though I have not had much success with them. Using my blogs, children’s illustration showcase sites, my website, and Facebook has brought me the most attention and ultimately the most projects.

6.Do you have an agent…if not would you like to work with one?

I had an agent for about 6 months and it was not a positive experience for me. I am still open to finding an agent. It takes time to find the right fit.

7.What is the first thing you remember drawing?

Twin girls jumping rope.

8.Do you have a favorite memory from an art class?

I won an award in a statewide traveling art show in high school, and there was a write-up about me in the paper. I still have the drawing. It was a Star Wars scene rendered in graphite.

9.When you go to a diner, what food would you be most likely to order?

A warm slice of blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream and a cup of coffee, black.

10.Is there a certain person from your childhood that especially encouraged you to pursue your love for art?

My Mom encouraged my love of art, nature, exploration and discovery. She will always be with me in spirit, and I dedicated my latest book, “Little Black Ant on Park Street” to her memory.

Celebrating Eric Carle at The Doodle Diner

November 7, 2009


In an interview with the School Library Journal, the beloved illustrator Eric Carle announces his official retirement.

Eric Carle retires at the age of 80 with a list of 40 published books and the creation of The Eric Carle Museum Of Picture Book Art. His career serves as an inspiration to those of us in the industry and to children around the world who read and love  his books.

We at the Doodle Diner will be celebrating  Eric Carle and his  career during the month of November.

You are invited to contribute as well. If you would like to create a piece of artwork, poem or share a favorite memory, we will post it here on our blog as a tribute to one of our favorite artists Eric Carle. Please send your submission to

Eric Carle Links

New Illustration: Swine Flew

November 6, 2009

Swine Flew{Oil on Board, 2009}

I just thought I would share my newest illustration with you guys! Its based on how a child might perceive hearing about H1N1 (or swine flu). Get it? Swine Flew…? Yeah, I have a lame sense of humor.