Yesterday, I featured children’s books writer Christi Zellerhoff on The Questions, and today I get to feature her illustrator, Amy Davis! Together, they’ve worked on the adorable children’s book Princesses Can Be Pirates Too!, just released in paperbook on Amazon on 11/30/12.
As I don’t know Amy at. all., I’ll let her speak for herself:
What I create:
I grew up drawing and creating stories. In college I began painting with acrylics and it has become my medium of choice. I love creating artwork for children since my style is more whimsical and quirky. This has been my first opportunity to use my talents to bring a story to life and it has been an amazing journey.
I fell in love with the little princess in this story. She is a confident, feisty little girl who is determined NOT to be excluded from her brother’s world of pirate make-believe just because she’s wearing a pink dress and high heels!
Only boys can be pirates?
“Phooey!” says she;
A princess can be a pirate,
if she chooses to be!
I connected with the spirit of the princess character and that connection helped me to visualize her and bring her alive through my paint brush.
8. What was your favorite book growing up? What is your favorite book now?
I believe the seed to illustrate children’s books was planted in my soul at a young age; it just took its time to sprout. As a child I loved the books and illustrations by Bill Peet. My favorite was a tossup between The Wump World and The Whingdingdilly. His amazing talent and imagination captivated me. He drew the cutest rabbits I have ever seen and as an animal lover I so admired how he captured the essence of each animal he drew.
(dSavannah note: Weep for me. I’ve never even heard of this guy. I’m gonna have to order some. For me.)
One of my favorite current children’s book illustrator/authors is David Shannon. I loved reading No David! with my own children. His series (David Goes to School, David Gets in Trouble, and Oh David!) are amazingly simple, humorous and complex all at the same time. The stories are so fun, but it’s the artwork that makes the books what they are. He makes it look so easy!
12. Where is your favorite place to create?
My mind is constantly churning visual ideas around and my inspiration can come from any number of sources, but I love to sketch it all out at the kitchen table. I have a drawing table in our office, but I feel so closed off there. At the kitchen table I can spread out, if I need a mental break I can get up and do the dishes or watch some TV, then return to my creating.
35. Tell me one random fact about you that not a lot of people know.
I love cartoons. Some of my favorites are Flapjack (sadly, not on the air any more), Adventure Time and The Regular Show (Cartoon Network). I will sit and watch them with my daughter and I have to admit that they make me laugh. I don’t think people give cartoons the respect they deserve. There are some amazingly creative people behind them and I find them inspiring as an artist.
(dSavannah note: I love cartoons too. Animaniacs is an enduring favorite of mine. I also love the title of the third cartoon you listed: Regular Show: Best DVD In the World (At This Moment In Time). Ha!)
13. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
After much deliberation I’ve decided I’m a mid-morning person! I used to be a night owl who could stay up into the wee hours of the night… then I had kids. I can’t remember a time I ever bounced out of bed in the morning happy to be awakened by my alarm clock (unless I was going to Disneyland or Hawaii) so we can rule mornings out too! I think I’m most productive around 9am.
20. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I think I’ve always known on some level I was supposed to make art a focus in my life. I would draw something at school at a young age and all the kids would gather around and ask me to draw one for them. I went through several years of doubting my abilities, but never stopped creating over that time and I think I’m a better artist for it. I’ve learned art is subjective and not everyone is going to love what you do, but if you feel you are doing your best and you find those people who do respond positively to your creative vision, it’s worth the risk. I’ve also learned that it’s good to keep pushing yourself and try to improve on your abilities, otherwise you get stale. God gave me this talent for a reason and I don’t think it was so I could sit in an office and answer phones; it just took me a while to figure that out.
(dSavannah note: This is actually a good reminder to all of us creatives out there. Keep creating. Do your best. Keep pushing yourself to improve.)
18. Your work space: neat or messy?
Let’s just say Martha Stewart would not be pleased. I am a bit messy. I will say that I know what is where and in which pile.
36. What is the first thing you remember creating as a child? Do you still have it?
My mom did toll and decorative painting in oils when I was a child. She would take me with her to wood shops to pick out pieces to paint. I got to pick out a small wooden piece with a fancy border and I used my Crayola watercolors to paint an apple tree on it. She saved it and gave it back to me a few years ago. Those watercolors held up well on wood!
Amy was born and raised in Washington. Growing up in a creative family, she was encouraged to use her talents, however her artistic road was not a clear one, and she took a break to pursue a steady paycheck and health benefits. She is married to her high-school sweetheart, and as the mother of two amazing kids, she is rekindling her love of painting and forging ahead to make long lost dreams come true.