Growing up, I always loved drawing and writing, but I never thought I was very good. In high school I had a teacher who gave me encouragement, so I took art classes in college and spent the next 15 years trying to find a way to make my living as an artist.
My most unusual job was working at an antique china repair shop while I was living in London, England in my twenties. I repainted china and porcelain and some of the pieces were over 1,000 years old. I loved living in London and spent most of my free time visiting the art museums and libraries.
I decided to write and illustrate children's books in 1980. Three of my favorite things are books, painting, and writing, so I decided to combine all three and work on books of my own. I guess the only job that I might possibly like better would be getting paid to eat popcorn and watch movies.
While I enjoy writing my own stories, I love illustrating stories for other writers, like Kathleen Krull and Eve Bunting. Their books are perfection and it's fun to work with them. The other great part of this job is meeting inspiring teachers and librarians--and the kids are quite a hoot, too.
I like to draw famous people with big heads because I hope it makes kids laugh. I tell them you don't need a big head to be famous, but it helps.
Some of my favorite children's book authors are James Marshall, Harry Allard, Babette Cole, Roald Dahl, Inga Moore, Florence Parry Heide, and Nicola Bailey.
Over the years I have illustrated more than twenty books, four of which I have also written. I live in Santa Monica, California with my boisterous family. When I'm not working on books, I enjoy riding my bicycle, swimming, and also climbing active volcanoes. Just kidding about the last one.