Monday, February 2, 2015

Awards...and not winning...

Congrats to the mighty Dan Santat on his Caldecott Medal for "Beekle."

Days like today are hard for most writers and illustrators.  We are happy to see our friends win, but I'm sure that the thought of "Why didn't I win?" goes through everyone's mind.  For me, I know it's no longer a jealous, or angry thought, but more of a clinical, academic thought.

What does the winner do better than me?

What skills does he posses that I don't?

Is it the technique being rewarded, or the content of the image?

Are people impressed with the technical accomplishment of the drawings, or the emotional weight that an image can carry?

Why do some books affect readers more than others?

Is there a style that is currently popular?

Hopefully, one can learn from theses questions, as tough as some of the answers might be.  The other thing that has always made me feel less grumpy on a day like today is numbers.  Thousands of picture books were published this year.  Only a few will win awards.

The truth is, I haven't even released a picture book since 2010's "Furious George Goes Bananas." I wasn't even in the running. I have been working on a few ideas, but haven't been able to find the time to really flesh them out.  Between the Icky Ricky books, and the Fangbone! tv work,  and school visits, I'm plenty busy.

This is a cover sketch/idea for one of my new stories.  Excuse me while I go think...


  1. If it is any consolation, my son (turns 5 in Feb) got the first Icky Ricky book in his stocking yesterday, and we have had to read it to him cover to cover, no less than 3 times in the last 24 hours. With the reader laughing as much as the read-ee. I really loved how, sandwiched in between all the gross stuff that had my little guy laughing, was the opportunity for a message about friendship, protecting other people, and tact. You're an award-winner in this house!

  2. Wow. Thanks for that. What a great way to end 2015!--Mike