I made this wood cut and submitted it to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrator’s 2017 Tomie dePaola Award illustration contest. This was the last year that Tomie himself judged the contest, and the prompt was very fun:
This year’s assignment is to cast yourself, as a child, in a picture book. Show your autobiographical character in a scene and make sure to convey the emotion of your character. The viewer should be able to read the emotion of the character immediately and clearly.
Thank you, Tomie! This prompt brought up a fountain of ideas for me. I chose a memory of when I was 5 and my cat had kittens. I remember how excited I was when I first saw them in the closet of my sister’s bedroom. I drew a few sketches showing the scene of the closet more, but I settled on this composition, because I wanted to clearly focus in on the emotional expressions and joyful relationship between the girl’s discovery and the new mama cat. I has a lot of fun remembering details and looking up how to draw Dr. Scholls.
This prompt clearly inspired a lot of other talented people! Congratulations to all the winners! Thank you, Diandra Mae, the Illustrator Coordinator of SCBWI Houston Texas, for the great idea of sharing the submissions in a gallery! I hope to see you all at the up-coming SCBWI Winter Conference in New York.