This man has become my personal hero. It's not necessarily because he has published over two-hundred children's books, or the fact that he is so polite and straightforward, or the fact that he is a driving force behind illustrators getting recognized and aided in the SCBW-I(nsurgents, sorry inside joke). No, the man is my personal hero because he wears a different pair of turquoise glasses every day.
Let me explain. One of the mantras of what I learned in Tomie's Developing your Style workshop is "Being an artist is a way of life." Tomie explained to us that he didn't see himself as a children's books illustrator. He said, "I'm an artist who happens to illustrate children's books." He said he tries to live life as an artist. That style comes from the inside-out, it's how you dress, how you decorate your home, what you enjoy and love. In regards to being a working artist, he said the following:
*Don't wait until you get a contract, keep painting, experimenting and working EVERY DAY.
*How can you learn as an artist?
*If your work is personal, there will be a place for it.
As you can tell from the picture above, the man has a great grasp of personal style. Everytime I looked at him, the phrase "Living Out Loud" would come to mind. He is as nice as he seems. I felt myself drawn to him, just to hear what wry witticism would come from his mouth next. He is hilarious, and one of those people you just want to be around, never mind the hero worship factor. I am beyond grateful that he is determined to give other illustrators out there a foot up in the world.