MERRY CHRISTMAS! My gift to you is an interview with the illustrator of the new Christmas version of the classic tale, Construction Site on Christmas Night, written by Sherri Duskey Rinker for Chronicle Books!
e: A.G.! Construction Site on Christmas Night is such a wonderful companion to the now classic Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site - Congratulations! And congratulations on your new little one to share them with! How has creating such a modern-day classic impacted your life and career?
Well, its “just” come out so the impact in terms of my career is yet to be seen. But personally, I’m elated and so is everyone at Chronicle! Its awesome to have a #1 New York Times Bestseller, this is something that has never happened to me. I have had books on the list, but never #1. So we will see where it goes from here, hopefully, this just helps me to keep creating more books, which is what I love to do.
e: I’m so curious… What is your creative process/medium, can you walk us through it?
As an illustration major in College that bordered pursuing fine arts, I’m a painter at heart. I love using oils and its my favorite medium to work with. But with deadlines, for my first few books I used acrylic because the medium dries quickly. Then I usually do one layer of oil over top of that to give it a polished look. In my later works, I have used water color and colored pencils. For Construction Site on Christmas Night, I used colored pencil and oil pastels in order to stay consistent with the style that Tom Lichtenheld put in place with the first Construction Site book. Oil pastels was a medium I had never used, so it took some time to get used to.
e: What was your path to publication? Any advice for those who follow in your footsteps?
I actually signed with my agent Steven Malk, (who is FANTASTIC by the way) when I was a senior at the Columbus College of Art and Design. I emailed Adam Rex (who is also FANTASTIC) just to get some advice about children’s book illustration, and he put me in touch with Steven. From there I would shop my portfolio to publishers in New York until we got a book deal. I have been illustrating books for 10 years now.
e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of Construction Site on Christmas Night?
Well it's VERY unique because the book was already established and had a style in place. I had never drawn someone else’s style for a book so it offered its challenges. Its one of those things where you just have to really critique yourself over and over to make sure you are consistent with the previous books. I have always switched up my style from book to book, so I think versatility is one of my strengths as an artist. Once I got into the project, I started to feel confortable.
e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
I will give the simplest answer. “Show the viewer something they’ve never seen before.”

e: That's good! So, what is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?
I think the most challenging part is just simply what I said in the previous answer, trying to show the viewer something unique, something that will stick with them and is visually stimulating.
e: Is there something in particular about this story you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
I just think Sherri Rinker did a wonderful job with the story and its such a great follow up to Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site. Its such a great addition for Construction Site fans!
e: With a new baby in your life (CONGRATULATIONS again!), are you inspired to create something new just for him or her?
Yes, I actually just finished up a baby book called Brown Baby Lullaby written by Tameka Fryer Brown! My first child inspired me to create images that lead to my first baby book “Littles” written by Kelly DiPucchio.
e: Lovely!
Check out this great video from Chronicle Books of Firefighters readin CONSTRUCTION SITE ON CHRISTMAS NIGHT!

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