Talking With Artists
Cummings, Pat, ed. 1992. TALKING WITH ARTISTS. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division. ISBN 0027242455
2. Plot Summary:
In the introduction, Pat Cummings tells the reader about being an illustrator. She says, “even though art can be your job, it can still be very enjoyable.” (Cummings 1992) Fourteen award-winning artists tell their stories about how and why they became illustrators and answers some frequently asked questions.
3. Critical Analysis:
The stories are charming and insightful. The illustrators tell of the joys and hardships overcome in the paths they have chosen as artists. Award winning authors such as Jerry Pinkney, Lois Ehlert, Chris Van Allsburg, and David Wiesner relate their experiences and offer advice to young readers. Each illustrator’s page provides a childhood picture, birth date, and current (1992) photo of themselves. The stories generally begin with an early memory or experience with art and continue through to present day. Each artist responds to a set of Frequently Asked Questions that students inquire when they go out on appearances. Students have generated the questions and the illustrators respond in a language that is simple and engaging. Children will appreciate and connect with the school age photos of the illustrators along with examples of their early work from ages 5-12. Young readers can see that the artists were children once with dreams and aspirations just like them. The style is straightforward and speaks directly to children who want to become illustrators or want to know more about that career choice.
4. Review Excerpts:
Starred review in SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
Starred review in HORNBOOK (1992): “An inspired concept, executed with class.”
Starred review in BOOKLIST
*Other books about illustrators:
Marcus, Leonard S. CALDECOTT CELEBRATION: SIX ARTISTS AND THEIR PATHS TO THE CALDECOTT MEDAL. ISBN 0802786588
*Read some of the picture books illustrated by the artists featured in this book and compare and contrast their styles.
*Using several books illustrated by one of the artists discussed in this book, review the frequently asked questions and see if students can find elements that the artist discussed such as special features or techniques they use, style, and subject matter.
*Have students write other questions to the artists. Find the artists address and mail them if you can. Maybe they will respond!
*Visit the artist’s webpage and go on a virtual field trip.
*Use this book as one source for a biography about a featured illustrator.