DO YOU USE the computer?

I use the computer in the middle stage of making a book. I do sketches on tracing paper and scan them into the computer. Then I can arrange them and play with a lot of different layouts and ideas. In some of my past books I used digital textures that I got from scanning household objects or photographs of my house and neighborhood. Mixing these elements and arranging the page digitally lets me print out an idea and finish it with traditional drawing.

what made you start using digital tools to make your books?

I have always been interested in new ways of challenging myself and looking for different ways to make my books. My book "To Market, To Market" was the first time I used scanned photographs, made them fit the size and shape I needed, printed and collaged them onto my drawings. It wasn't much of a step to start cutting and pasting on the computer itself. "My Big Dog" and "Cook-A-Doodle-Doo!" are the first two books that used this technique.

what are the advantages of using a computer?

The flexibility! I can change the size, positions and order (foreground or background) so easily. Also I can experiment without redrawing the original sketches. I feel this helps maintain their original spontaneity and they don't become "overworked" from multiple drawings. This flexibility has its drawbacks, sometimes there are so many options I can't decide which one I want!

What program do you use?

I use Adobe Photoshop, a popular image and graphic design program. The learning process took about a year, I had a Photoshop expert who helped me learn the subtler aspects of the software, which helps me go faster...sometimes.

How does using a computer make your books look different?

I think it is very hard for people to see most of the work I do with the computer. Of course if I use photographs or "real" objects, those can be seen, but that's only a small part of what the computer does for me. I would be surprised if someone looked at Iguana in "Cook-A-Doodle-Doo!" and said, "Hey, that's a scanned sponge and cheese grater overlapped, printed and painted over!"