Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sources of Inspiration

Since I was confused about which day I was supposed to be blogging (I thought it was next Thursday), today’s entry is a bit last minute.

As I was mulling over possible topics, I got to thinking about the people who inspired me to start writing children’s books in the first place, as well as those who continue to inspire me. And I thought sharing the names of these people might help some other writers and illustrators out there. Or cause them to share some of their own sources of inspiration.

So without further ado, my very random list of 10 creative people who have inspired me, in no particular order:

Douglas Florian
Children’s poet and wordplayer extraordinaire. And he illustrates his own poems to boot. I love the apparent simplicity of everything he does.

Chris Van Allsburg
He re-introduced me to the wonders of children’s books when I was in my 30’s. When I saw The Polar Express, I knew I had to get into this field.

Bill Bernbach
The guru of creative advertising in the 60’s. If you want to learn about how words and pictures work together, look up the advertising work of Doyle Dane Bernbach from that era.

Robert McCloskey
What a storyteller. What an illustrator. I never get tired of reading his books to my kids.

Eric Carle
To experience the sheer joy of creation, I highly recommend a video that he did about his creative process called Eric Carle, Picture Writer. It’s available at my local library and probably at yours too.

Leonard Marcus
He’s written so many books about the business of children’s books, all of them inspirational–especially Dear Genius and Ways of Telling.

Vincent van Gogh
800 paintings in 10 years–he literally painted like a madman. Like me, he was a latecomer to his chosen field. I’m not ashamed to say I cried when I saw The Sower in person.

Jan Vermeer
Only 35 of his paintings survive, and most of them stop me in my tracks. I love the fact that he may have used an early form of the camera, called a camera obscura. Some see it as cheating. I see it as creativity.

Dr. Seuss
No one can match his talent. But everyone tries. I also like the roundabout way he discovered his calling.

Bob Gill
I was a Graphic Design major in college, and Bob Gill wrote a wonderful book called Forget All the Rules You Learned About Graphic Design, Including the Ones in This Book. His basic premise is, when you’re designing something to solve a problem, and you get stuck, creatively redefine the problem. It’s a great book about thinking differently. And it’s fun to read because it’s made up entirely of examples.

Is that ten already? I know, I know, there isn’t a non-fiction writer in the bunch, unless you count Douglas Florian. But as they say, inspiration can come from anywhere.


teacherninja said...

That turned out to be a great post. It immediately got me thinking about my inspirations and influences. Thanks!

Wendie O said...

For me it's --
Jane Yolen
Bruce Coville
Jim Murphy
Russell Freedman
James Cross Giblin
Okay -- too many more to mention. (and yes, the top two people have written nonfiction as well as fiction.)