How often do you get to meet one of your heroes? I'm bettin' not very. So what a great time when several writer/illustrator buds and I met for lunch then headed to the Decatur Library to see none other than Flotsam making, Tuesday creatin,' Caldecott winning, David Wiesner!!
He gave a fantastic talk with images of his early years and influences. I especially enjoyed seeing his thumbnails and models he makes to get proportions just right (you know, like a giant head of broccoli laying in your back yard). What struck me most of all isn't how skilled he is as an illustrator (he's amazing), but how clever he is conceptually. Okay, this is no revelation, but truly, that seems to be the different between being so-so, and so VERY! Conceptually, his work is pure genius. Did you realize that's a reflection of the camera in the fish's eye on the cover of Flotsam? I didn't!
I was also surprised I only had four books for him to sign (oh, and my book bag). I've bought and given away so many copies of his books over the years, I thought I had more. I suppose that was lucky for him, but he was incredibly gracious and signed everything.
So here are the gals (in back), Liz Conrad, Ami Blackford, moi, and Joni Goldman (librarian extraordinaire); and in front, da man himself. Nathaniel Lachenmeyer was also with us, but didn't make it into the head-shot.