Illustrated by Michael-Che Swisher
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Manatee Mom is a nonfiction easy-to-read with lots of humor and bright watercolor illustrations by Michael-Che Swisher.
|Summer Rays by C. Turner
Houghton Mifflin 2004
|Charlie Takes A Shot by B. Donovan
|Secret Along The St. Mary's by V. Troeger
Silver Moon Press 2004
|I'm Going To Be A Writer!|
|This is what I decided at six years old and that is how I became an artist. Don't see the connection? Well, life never does take us on a straight path. I am working proof that art can be taught, you don't have to be born with it. I never showed any interest or talent for art till I was in high school and this was just one of my many hobbies that I tried on for awhile. I still wanted to write children's books.
While studying writing and reading all about authors, I repeatedly found that the authors weren't happy with how their books turned out because the illustrator took it in a totally different direction (which is their job I realize now). I didn't want to work hard on a book then sit for a year wondering what the illustrator would do with it, so I decided to go to art school and illustrate as well. Of course I had to make it even more challenging and move all the way to San Francisco from Maryland to learn my new skill.
Art school is not the laid back, sit around in cafes and paint only when inspired type of experience most people imagine. It is tough if you want to get your money's worth and come out with the ability to make a living. The illustration department is filled with young guys who have been copying pictures from comic books for years. They can draw. It may be unrealistically proportioned, but they made me look like I never held pencil before. I was dead last in all my classes and I hate being last, so I went to my six hour studio classes then came back in the evening for a three hour drawing workshop.
I definitely wasn't last by graduating, but I wasn't at the top either. The director of the illustration department told me he didn't think I'd make it. There's only one reason why I've been successful and how my painting level has increased: I never quit! If I don't have an assignment, I paint anyway. I've discovered that being an artist is the perfect career for me. I never get to the top of the ladder. I just keep trying something new to challenge me. I've been so busy, I don't really have time to write anymore.