Friday, October 9, 2015

Day 251: Drawing a Halloween Bunny with Kathryn O. Galbraith and Jeff Mack

Kathryn O. Galbraith's bio, in her own words:
Where do I get my ideas?
A friend once compared a writer's mind to a scrap basket and I have found that is true for me.
My books are made up of bits and pieces of my life and the lives of my family and friends.
I grew up in Plymouth, Michigan, with four brothers, two birds, one dog and lots and lots of books. I always felt - and still do feel - lucky to have so many brothers. I felt sorry for girls who only had one or two. When I write about boy characters, they all seem have a little bit of Chuck, Tom, Ed, or Jim in them.

Dogs were always an important part of our family. When I wrote the three books about the roommates, Beth and Mimi, I gave them a wonderful dog named Willie - who is a little bit like our old dog, Bootsie. I have just finished my very first I-Can Read story, Sparky and Tidbit,  and what is it about?  Dogs, of course.

Today I live in the green, rainy, watery beautiful state of Washington with my husband Steve, our naughty puppy Duffy (Meet Duffy!), and lots and lots of books.

What are my favorite things to do?
I have lots of favorites, but here are my top ten. I love to write stories, read all kinds of books, travel to new places, eat M&Ms, travel to old places, write more stories, play with Duffy, read more books, go to non-scary movies, and share raspberries with Steve – and M&Ms, of course.

How long have I been writing?
I began writing in the second grade and never stopped. I've written seventeen books and hope to write at least a dozen more. Sometimes I get letters from young readers asking if my stories are true. Did they really happen to me? The answer is both yes and no. No, the stories didn't happen just as I wrote them. But yes, each story - the heart of each story - is true.

What is my favorite book?
That's a hard question to answer. I love all my books. 
They are like special friends so it is hard to choose just one.
However, the book I think about the most is always the one I'm currently working on. It was so much fun writing about Sparky and Tidbit’s doggy adventures that I’ve started a second story about them both. I’ll keep you posted on how it all turns out.

Jeff Mack's bio, in his own words:
I studied art at SUNY Oswego, Syracuse University, and Scuola Lorenzo I was born in Syracuse, New York, a small city at least five hours away from New York City. I spent my childhood riding bikes with my friends and building haunted houses in my parents’ basement.

I also spent a lot of time drawing monster comics and building pinball machines out of cardboard boxes.

I remember getting frustrated when my drawings didn’t turn out like I wanted them to. But I was determined to improve my skills, so I kept practising.
I studied art at SUNY Oswego, Syracuse University, and Scuola Lorenzo De Medici in Florence, Italy.

My first art job was painting huge posters to advertise movies, books and music. After that, I spent five years as a full-time muralist and faux-finisher. 
A faux-finisher is someone who paints objects and walls to look like they are made of marble, wood, and other interesting textures.  I learned a lot about how to paint while practising on the job.

In 2000, I moved to NYC to try to sell my stories to publishing companies. I didn't have much luck at first.  Most editors thought my stories were too weird or gross for kids. A few of them liked my paintings and asked me if I wanted to illustrate other authors' stories.

The first book I illustrated was called The Icky Sticky Chameleon. It had a long sticky rubber tongue on the cover.  (It was gross, and kids loved it!)

After that, I illustrated Linda Ashman's Rub-a-Dub Sub. It was nominated for the Bill Martin Jr. Award and published in several languages.  Since then I’ve illustrated at least fifteen picture books for other authors, including James Howe's Bunnicula and Friends series and Eve Bunting's Hurry! Hurry!, one of School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2007.

After a few more years of practice and persistence, I became a published author in 2008.  This book is Hush Little Polar Bear.

Since then, I’ve written and illustrated a long list of picture books, chapter books, and early readers, including the Hippo and Rabbit series, Frog and Fly in Six Slurpy Stories, and the Clueless McGee books.  And my book, Good New Bad News, which has only four words in it, has been published in twelve different languages!

My paintings and drawings have been exhibited around New York State and Western Massachusetts, including the 2000 and 2002 Everson Museum of Art Biennials. 

I now live in Western Massachusetts where I continue to write and illustrate books, paint murals and visit schools and libraries to talk about my work.

Visit O. Galbraith and Jeff Mack's websites!

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