INTERVIEW WITH TRUE
1) Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Hampton Falls, N.H. My parents were both professional artists. We lived on an old farm. My brother and I spent a happy childhood playing in the old barn, the fields, woods and swamps. We had chickens, ducks, turkeys, a horse, dogs and cats. I drew a lot growing up because we had lots of art supplies around , and it seemed to be what everybody did in our house.
2) Did you have to go to school to learn to draw?
I went to my local public schools, and graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Elementary Education. Then I studied illustration at Rhode Island School of Design for two years. I don't think you need to go to school to learn to draw. I think you just have to like to draw and do it a lot. And look at a lot of other people's art.
3) What was your first book?
My first published story appeared in CHILD LIFE magazine when I was four years old. It was about a chicken who laid ONE egg and it hatched out a LOT of chicks which made the chicken laugh and laugh. It helped that my dad was the art director at the magazine. My first book was THE MOUSES' TERRIBLE CHRISTMAS which I wrote with Steve and illustrated.
4) Who are your favorite illustrators?
My father, Mark Kelley, was always my favorite illustrator. When I was starting out I loved Jerry Pinkney's work and I still do. Other favorites are Ernest Shepard, the Provensons, the Ahlbergs, Quentin Blake, Ronald Searle, Arnold Lobel, G. Brian Karas, my husband Steven Lindblom and so many others. I seem to like a lot of British children's books.
5) What are your favorite books?
Most romantic book for children? A VALENTINE FOR FUZZBOOM! Scariest? Many years ago, I thought THE HOBBIT. Now I think HAZEL NUTT, MAD SCIENTIST, by David Elliott is pretty scary. Funniest? A very obscure book by Peter Hacks, THE BEAR AT THE HUNTSMANS BALL . The funniest manuscript I ever got to illustrate was THREE STORIES YOU CAN READ TO YOUR DOG by Sara Swan Miller. I always loved Robert McCloskey's ONE MORNING IN MAINE, which I assumed as a child was about me and my family. More recently I found OLIVER FINDS HIS WAY by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Christopher Denise...but I have shelves and shelves full of favorite books!
6) Where do you work?
I have a studio on the second floor of our house which I share with Steve. From my desk there is a view of the field and garden which makes me want to go outside.While I'm working at my desk I listen to music most of the time. I like a lot of different kinds of music, depending on my mood. If I'm writing I like it to be quiet.
7) What art materials do you use to make your pictures?
I often use Luma watercolors and pen and ink. Sometimes I use acrylic paints, crayons, markers, colored pencils, pencils, and even collage.
8) Do you have any hobbies?
Bicycling, skiing, travel, hiking, piano playing, canoeing, bird watching, camping, house cleaning (not really...I mean REALLY not really!)
9) Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas are everywhere and everyone has them! Sometimes it's hard to get those ideas down on paper. You might have to let them percolate in your head for a while. Take a bath! Lie out in the sun! Paddle a canoe! You can be working on ideas the whole time...letting those ideas develop. I find that ideas breed more ideas as soon as I start to write them down. Incidentally, someone told me there are no new ideas.
10) Do you have any kids? Pets?
Steve and I have a grown daughter, Jada. We don't have any pets right now because Steve is allergic , much to our dismay. In the past, we have had a dog, cats, a bird, fish, gerbils, turtles, a hamster and bunnies. Our bunny died at the age of 12, and we still miss her.