I’m very happy to have illustrator and artist Roxie Monro as my FIVE ON FRIDAY guest this week. I was lucky enough to collaborate with Roxie on our book TEXAS RANGERS: Legendary Lawmen. Roxie is also the illustrator of numerous other children’s books including the just released GO! GO! GO! and has painted covers for New Yorker magazine. You can visit Roxie at her website www.roxiemunro.com.
When did you know that you first wanted to be an illustrator?
At six years old and in the 1st grade, I received First Prize and a photo in the newspaper for winning a county-wide art contest (the work was a pastel of a bowl of fruit). I guess that’s when I became an artist! But my parents always encouraged their children to read, make their own toys, and draw (my older sister is also a professional artist). I was art editor of the HS yearbook, did all the school posters, the Prom decorations, and was voted Most Talented in Senior Class, and went to five college/universities for 7 years to study art. So I have been an artist almost all of my life.
What book or artist do you feel influenced you the most?
I used to spend hours looking at the exquisite detailed illustrations by Arthur Szyk of Andersen’s Fairy Tales. Also love Monet, Van Gogh, Grant Wood, Edward Hopper, and Maxfield Parrish.
What book or books are you currently reading or have recently read that you’d recommend to others?
I’m a big baseball fan, and just read Three Nights in August about Tony LaRussa. I am rereading John Cheever’s and O’Henry’s short story collections, and recently read again Madame Bovary and Lord of the Flies. For pure fun I read P.G. Wodehouse.
If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring illustrators, what would it be?
Don’t give up! Work hard and steady. Hone your skills. Believe in yourself, and don’t let others discourage or dishearten you. Be generous to folks starting out, and be kind and supportive to your fellow authors and artists.
Can you share with us your next project or any information about the next book you’re working on?
I am wrapping up Ecomazes (April 2010) – mazes, naming/counting/finding games, and basic info about 12 of Earth’s ecosystems. Also, later in 2010, Desert Days, Desert Nights, developed out of EcoMazes. And then, an Inside-Outside book about a famous American architect.