Q & A with LINDSAY WARD
Lindsay Ward is busy!
This author / illustrator of more than a dozen fabulous picture books (including Please Bring Balloons, a Red Jellies Modern Classics pick) has three new books coming out in 2019. She’s also the founder of Critter Lit, an online picture book critique service (first critique is free!) and owns a stationary company, Foreword Press + Design, that specializes in custom designs.
Lindsay took a break from all this creating to answer a few Red Jellies questions. Here’s the scoop on her favorite part of publishing, her “pull the goalie” mentality, and how old math journals wound up in her cut-paper illustrations.
Where do you live?
I live in Peninsula, Ohio, in the middle of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. About half-way between Cleveland and Akron.
Where did you grow up?
San Jose, California.
What were your favorite books growing up?
What was your favorite toy growing up?
I had a Raggedy Ann doll that I took with me everywhere. I used to put lots of colorfully patterned Band-Aids on her.
When did you first think about becoming an author / illustrator?
When I was 15, I had got my first job working in a children’s bookstore. After meeting many different authors and illustrators during book signings and events, I realized I wanted to create books too.
We love your cut paper illustrations! What’s the craziest / funniest / most unexpected source of material you’ve used for your cut-paper illustrations?
Most of the paper I use for my cut-paper illustrations is recycled or vintage. Stuff that people would typically just throw away. The most unexpected thing I’ve used so far has been old math journals. I found these amazing notebooks full of math equations at the estate sale of a teacher years and years ago. She had lovely handwriting—elegant and systematic. I’ve used her notebooks for a few different books.
What’s the most exciting part of the book writing / publishing process?
That moment when I get a really good idea. Everything starts to click into place and I get really excited about the whole creative process.
What’s the funniest / most surprising piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
Pull the goalie. I try to live by this one. If you’re not willing to put everything on the line, then you probably aren’t all that interested in it, to begin with.
What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give to aspiring picture book authors and illustrators?
Keep writing. Keep drawing. Be your work’s biggest advocate and don’t be afraid to fail, it will help you develop as an artist.
What do you think makes for a great children’s book?
The best books are able to tap into something universal. They connect with kids. They open doors to new possibilities. They give a sense of wonder.
Have you ever read your books to your own children? What’s that experience like? Have they reacted to those books in any unexpected ways?
Oddly enough, I don’t actually read my books often with my boys. My husband does though. But for me, it’s feels a bit strange for some reason. We read every night, but mostly books by other authors/illustrators that I love. My oldest, who is three, does love Don’t Forget Dexter, but I think that’s mainly because he likes dinosaurs. He sings the song regularly, but he doesn’t really understand that I write and illustrate books yet.
My kids have definitely shaped the types of books I create. A lot of my ideas come from them and the things they are interested in.
What’s a little known book that you love reading with your kids?
Traction Man Is Here! by Mini Grey. I’m not sure if that counts as a little known book—it is a series—but I find that when I recommend it or tell people about it they aren’t familiar with it. It’s a wonderful superhero picture book with witty narration and dialogue and charming illustrations.
What are your five all-time favorite children’s books?
Oh man…I only get five?!
The Snowy Day by Jack Ezra Keats
I Can Fly by Ruth Krauss, Illustrated by Mary Blair
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
Wave by Suzy Lee
If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano, Illustrated by Erin Stead
What’s your next project?
I just wrapped up the final art for Vacation for Dexter, the third book in the Dexter T. Rexter series, which will be released April 2019. Followed by Let's Go!, a new original board book series all about vehicles with HarperCollins, the first of which will come out June 2019. And last, but not least, I’ll have a new picture book coming out Fall 2019, titled This Book is Gray.