Patricia– So many different titles come to mind. Regarding picture books, I loved and still love everything by Dr. Seuss. Horton Hears a Who, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and The Sneetches are probably my favourite Seuss stories. I really connected with the Suess books ? not only because of Theodor Geisel?s dynamic illustrations, but also because of his delightfully witty and intelligent writing. From a very young age I was drawn to clever, humorous writing and playful words.
I also read a lot of cartoon books ? Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, BC, The Wizard of Id, as well as collections of cartoons by New Yorker cartoonists, and various works by British cartoonists like Ronald Searle, Thelwell and Gerard Hoffnung. I was always attracted to humorous writing and illustration. I also adored the Asterix the Gaul books, which were written by Ren? Goscinny, and illustrated by Albert Uderzo. The artwork in the Asterix stories is amazing, and the writing is very sharp and clever. I only wish I was fluent in French so I could read the original French versions. I?m sure I am missing a lot of great humour by just reading them in English.
Sandbox World-At what age did you decide to become an artist and who did you want to emulate? Which artist has influenced you the most?
Patricia- I suppose I?ve really always wanted to be an artist ever since I was a little kid. But in terms of making the real-life decision about being an illustrator and a cartoonist, I would say that answer came at two different stages of my life. When I was about 22 I realized that I really could earn money from drawing funny pictures, but I ended up doing freelance illustration and cartoon work on the side for many years while I worked full-time in a variety of professions. I worked in libraries, and I worked as a desktop publisher and then graphic designer until about 5 years ago when I finally made the leap into illustrating and cartooning full-time.
At different stages of my life, different artists have had a particular influence on me. I know that I used to copy the style of the British illustrator and cartoonist Ronald Searle a lot when I was a teenager. Then as a young adult I discovered the Canadian cartoonist Lynn Johnston. I loved her down-to-earth drawing style and her snappy gags (early on in her cartooning career her cartoons were much more gag-oriented, as opposed to the family saga storylines you read these days). Lynn Johnston really inspired me and motivated me to do more with my talents, because I realized that it was possible for a woman to be a successful cartoonist. Nowadays I think (and hope) that I have my own distinctive style. But I?m always changing and growing.
Sandbox World-What is your process of creating a picture book?
Sandbox World-Do you have a dream writer or artist that you would like to collaborate on a book?
Sandbox World-Do you do school visits and what reaction do you get from kids and how does it effect your work?
Patricia- It?s still too early in my illustration career to be doing school visits, but I certainly hope I that I?ll eventually get to do some. I hope I will be entertaining. I know I will be terrified.
Sandbox World-What new projects are you working on right now?
Sandbox World-If you were not illustrating, what do you see yourself doing instead career wise?
Sandbox World-Dream assignment, what character or book would you love to tackle as an artist?
Patricia-My dream assignment quite frankly, is illustrating a book that is written by me!
Sandbox World-What advice can you give a young inspiring artist that wants to go into your field?
Sandbox World-What is the hardest thing about being an illustrator? What was your toughest book to illustrate?
Probably the toughest book I illustrated was my first educational picture book, ?Fifty Little Penguins?. I think you can figure out just from the title where the difficulty was in doing this job. That was a lot of penguins that I had to draw! And remember that I had to do rough sketches of all these penguins before working on the final. After a while it got to be pretty confusing, trying to make sure that I was drawing the exact number of penguins on a page. I?d start counting and then get lost, and then have to start all over again. But as tough as that job was, I still loved it, because it was my first illustrated children?s book, and because I love penguins!
Sandbox World-What qualities do you look for in a manuscript? Do you ever feel a project was not right for you?