I love working with different mediums so this was a fun challenge and gave me some good ideas for upcoming art projects.
Meeting the Steads
A few weeks ago I attended the "Book for Young Readers" conference at BYU. It's a two day conference where well known authors and illustrators come and present. This year my all time favorite children's book illustrator and author came! Erin and Philip Stead. They co-created the book A Sick Day for Amos McGee. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful and I love the simple story. Their book won the Caldecott medal in 2011.
Their presentation was all that I cared about. I came early so I could get a good seat. After they were finished presenting I quickly and eagerly walked up to Erin and Philip and asked if they would sign my book. Erin stamped her iconic penguin with the balloon and signed "Hooray for Tessa!" with their names below it.
I was pretty excited. I told them I was an illustration major. I talked to Philip for a minute. He wished me luck and then I left because I wasn't sure what else to say. Fortunately there was a dinner that night and I was not leaving until I asked them about their work as illustrators.
That night some awesome coworkers of mine reserved me a seat (name tag and all) next to Erin. I was really excited but felt awkward as I sat alone at the table until they arrived. Once they arrived Philip saw me and said "Hello again" in a surprised yet friendly manner. Yep, he recognized me as the eager illustration student who is now stalking them. If only he knew how much I appreciated their book and how Erin's illustrations inspire me.
I would love to say that they were eager and excited to talk and answer my questions. However, they didn't care for small talk. They were polite and answered my simple questions but they kept to themselves for the most part. Right as I was asking them about their struggle period as an artist the speaker for the dinner began to present her speech. I didn't pay any attention. In fact I started to doze off. I played with my plate of chocolate cake to keep me awake but I still couldn't help it. After the author was finished speaking we all clapped, the Steads immediately stood up and said, "It was nice to meet you" and walked away. I knew asking for a picture would only make me look more eager so I just casually said "Thanks, it was nice to meet you too." So we obviously weren't instant best friends at the end of the night.
Overall I enjoyed their presentation at the conference. I probably should have left it at that, however I knew this would be my only shot at meeting them. I normally don't go out of my way and ask people for their signature nor plant myself at their dinner table and invite myself into their conversation, but I'm an eager artist who wants to learn from the best.