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Scary Fright Castle Sketch 2.jpeg

A Little About Myself


 I was born in a castle laboratory one dark and stormy night . . .                                                                        No, not really

                                                                         (but I wish).

                                                                      For as long as

                                                                    I can remember,

                                                                       I have always

                                                                     loved monsters.  

                                                                 My favorite one of all,


                                                                          has to be




    My 2nd Grade drawing


   I was born in Rochester, New York on October the 12th, 1958

(I was hoping for October 31st).   You'll NEVER guess what my favorite holiday is . . . That's right, it's Ground Hogs Day . . . No, of course, it's HALLOWEEN!  


   I was SO fortunate to have had two such loving and supportive parents who encouraged me in everything I did - drawing, writing, acting, and playing the piano.  My father played both the piano and the organ so it was inevitable that my brother and I would take piano lessons sooner or later.  I stuck with it for five years.  When I decided that I wanted to quit, that's when my music teacher told my parents that I had no musical ability whatsoever.  But, that wasn't entirely true.  I did sing in the chorus at school and had several parts in the school musicals.  But more than anything, those piano lessons gave me a real appreciation for all kinds of music.  Even now, I listen to music whenever I draw and paint.  


    I can still remember

the first time I decided

that drawing was for me.

 It was in 1st Grade.  

A boy named Alan

had drawn a sailor

in a yellow coat standing

in a yellow sailboat.  I liked

that picture so much

that I sat down and copied it.  

And I've been drawing

ever since.  

                                                            Me and my first dog, Friskey


    Growing up, I was bullied sometimes. But it was my creativity and imagination both on paper and on the stage that helped me to cope and get through it.  


   I attended art school at Syracuse University and spent my third year of college studying in London, England.  Up until that point, I had wanted to be an animator or paint backgrounds for Disney Studios' animated films.  But my landlady that I rented a flat (apartment) from in London just happened to be a writer and illustrator of children's picture books.  She was the one who got me thinking about maybe doing that myself.  So, when I graduated from Syracuse, I pursued a career in children's illustration while writing stories of my own that I sent out to publishers hoping that they'd agree to make them into books.  


   My first regular art job was illustrating for a children's newspaper called The Pennywhistle Press. In addition to painting the occasional cover, I drew Hidden Pictures for them every two weeks.  A Hidden Picture is a drawing with objects hidden in it somewhere that you have to try and find.  For six years, I drew a total of 153 Hidden Pictures.  Since then, I have also illustrated for a number of children's magazines as well.  During this time, I continued to submit my stories to editors, art directors, and agents.  It took me 217 rejections over 18 years before my first book as both author and illustrator, Scary Fright, Are You All Right? was accepted for publication.   Since then, two more were published - City Witch, Country Switch (as illustrator) and Maddie's Monster Dad (as author and illustrator).  


   Some people think that just because you've been published, any future stories you write will be automatically published, too, now that you've 'made it'.  Sigh . . . Unfortunately, that is not true.  I continue to receive rejections on my stories all the time.  BUT . . . I refuse to give up!!!   If you love what you do and you're good enough at it (which, hopefully, I am), then you HAVE to keep trying! 


   I have been married to my WONDERFUL wife, Janice, now for over thirty years.  We have three MARVELOUS children - Tess, Brent, and Tori.  I grew up with dogs and never much cared for cats.  But when I met Janice, she had two cats and I fell in love with them, too.  So now, I'm both a dog and a cat person!  


                                                          Two of the most influential people

                                                     in my life were/are my second cousin

                                                              (and dear friend) Evelyn and my

                                                              sixth/seventh grade art teacher,

                                               Cecile Wright. 'Eppie' (Evelyn's nickname)

                                                             was the one who took me to see

                                             theater productions.  She encouraged me

                                                       ever since I was little and taught me

                                                 SO much about what is most important

                                                  in life.  She was a fourth grade teacher,

                                                        a story teller, wrote her own poetry,

 and published a children's book about the history of Rochester, New York.  She was 54 years older than me.  But that didn't matter at all.  She lived to be 95 years young!  


   Ms. Wright was almost 70 years old

when I had her for a teacher.  

It  was like having your favorite

grandmother teach you art.   

She was also very eccentric.  

She never drove a car and

it took her three buses to get to work.  

So, she used to live in her classroom

for days at a time before going home.

 I remember coming into school

at 6:30 one night for a play rehearsal

and walking by her classroom.  

She was ironing clothes while watching the news on a small T.V.  There was a coffee pot on a shelf and a cot that she slept on tucked away in a corner of the room.  She retired when I finished seventh grade.  I'll never forget her asking me to come into her classroom at the beginning of summer vacation because she had something special that she wanted to give me.  It was a watercolor paint set (which I still have to this day).   After I graduated from Syracuse, I went to visit her one more time before she passed away.  She loved seeing what I had drawn and painted in college.  She told me that she liked the technique that I used in my artwork very much.  


   My artistic influences come from many sources: animation, theater, cartoons, fine art, and classic black and white films (especially the old monsters movies).  My favorite actor is Boris Karloff (who played the Frankenstein Monster).  Vincent Van Gogh, Regionalist Art, German Expressionism, Architecture, Mr. Rogers, Charles Addams, Tim Burton, Edward Gorey, Dr. Seuss, Bill Peet, and Maurice Sendak are just a few of the many, many inspirations in my work.  





















                   My art studio . . . Gee, what a surprise, right?     


   My goal in life is simple really: All I want to do is to make people (ESPECIALLY children) happy with my artwork and my stories!  

Me at Raquette Lake 1.jpeg
Miss Wright.jpeg
Herman Munster - My 2nd Grade Drawing.jpeg
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