We have so much land excitement and home repairs going on that it’s been a little hard to focus. We’re sorta tackling everything at once during this short, no-snow part of the year. But soon, we’ll have a beautiful little pond (orange fishies and waterfall included) and an inspiring ‘outdoor livingroom’! Yeah!

I thought I’d share some treasures that are inspiring me lately with my illustrations and my new kid’s book…yes, more kid art, of course. Kids are my best teachers. They remind me of things I’ve forgotten.

This drawing by comic artist Charles Burns at age 5 (in 1961) pretty much blows my mind. I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t drawing like this at age 5! What an amazing attention to detail. I love how he drew each fisherman (front, profile, even from behind!), the silly gestures, and what everyone is saying. I love the thousand things that are going on in the drawing. So much activity and energy. I particularly like the fishing poles+lines all reaching for the pond and that mooing cow. And it looks like he drew in a woman in the upper right which he decided to erase. Ha! Must have been a boys-only fishing hole. This was in an exhibition called VERY EARLY PICTURES in 2005 at Arcadia University. (Thanks for sharing, Beth!)

And this is a child’s painting acquired by Paul Klee. It is printed in one of my favorite books, The Innocent Eye. What to say–it’s beautiful, honest, and sensitive. No second-guessing. Just free and confident.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my new book and what I’d like to do in the illustrations. I started a sketchbook for exploring only this–playing with compositions, characters, collecting inspiration and references, and to continue playing with the words/story. I want to stay really free with it and let it grow even more from the dummy I proposed to my publisher. Also, it will be a nice way to share my process later. I’ve been working out this book in my head for about 5 years now and am excited to finally see it come to life. It’s due at the end of the year, so off I go…

What sort of things are inspiring/influencing your art lately? And feel free to send me any links or images of kid art you love!