Born in Westport Connecticut in 1958, I was the youngest of six children in a family of artists.
My mom was a portrait and landscape painter, and my dad was a business man who always had an artsy hobby going on, like leather smithing, photography, knot tying and jewelry making. There were always tons of art supplies lying around and I remember drawing constantly.
My mom took me to her painting classes, my sisters took me to their drawing classes, and I went to sculpture lessons. Art was the most interesting thing to me, and I remember really loving art books. I enjoyed calligraphy also, and would spend hours in my room drawing.
By the time I was in high school, it was very clear to me that I was going to have a career in art. I went to Rhode Island School of Design to study painting. I loved the school, but I was unhappy in the painting department, so I switched to illustration halfway through my sophomore year. I loved illustration! I had great teachers like David Macaulay and Chris Van Allsburg. I didn’t decide on children’s books until well after I finished college. I had tried lots of different types of illustration, including magazine, newspaper, advertising, store windows and even scrimshaw. I chose children’s books because it seemed to be the most fun and offered lots of room for creativity.