I’ve been drawing since I was old enough to grasp a pencil. I’ve been illustrating children’s books and educational products for 27 years. But I’ve been writing for just a few years. Writing always scared me. To me a writer possessed a 4-year college degree. Writers attended journalism schools. Had law degrees. A writer committed to memory the concept of conjugating verbs. None of that applied to me. I focused on drawing and painting.
But, shoot — good thing I got over that or else I’d never had the opportunity to announce this good news: I am now a published author! In 2004, I shoved my drawing tools aside and began writing the first draft of a book that eventually went on to win a Lee & Low Books New Voices Honor award, . Next month, It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, will publish with Lee & Low Books (April, 2012).
When I visit schools I always encourage kids to face their fears, don’t run from them. I faced my fear of words and discovered a whole new passion. I am a writer. Here’s a look at a teaser/trailer for the upcoming book.
What else am I working on? Well, I’m under contract to finish a book by our own Kelly Starling Lyons. Then it’s on to a book written by the wonderful Eve Bunting. And later this year, a collaboration with my good friend Chris Barton. So many good things on the horizon. I’m blessed.