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FIVE ON FRIDAY with Brad Sneed

This week our FIVE ON FRIDAY guest is multi-talented illustrator Brad Sneed. Brad lives in Kansas City, Missouri and has illustrated over twenty books for children. Visit his website to view his amazing art and gallery of books.

When did you know that you first wanted to be an illustrator?

When I realized I was never going to be a professional football player. Seriously… When I was young, I felt there were three “parts” to me. There was the country kid who enjoyed riding horses, whether it be in the arena or on a trail in the Rocky Mountains. There was the athlete, who spent countless hours on the court, field and diamond. And finally, the artist. I don’t recall a specific moment when I said, “Aha! I’m going to be an illustrator!” I think the artist in me grew while my other interests faded. By the time I was in middle school, I was pretty set on going to college to study art.

What book or artist do you feel influenced you most?

As a kid, I spent a lot of time looking at Dr. Suess books. I love paintings by regionalist painter, Thomas Hart Benton. He is a master of drawing you into a painting and leading your eye throughout the entire work by manipulating line, color, and value.

What book or books are you currently reading or have recently read that you’d recommend to others?

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Summerland by Michael Chabon

If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring illustrators, what would it be?

Hang out in an illustrator’s studio. WATCH an artist draw and paint. There’s no better way to learn. Of course, observation must be followed by action, so draw, draw, draw, draw, draw.

Can you share with us your next project or any information about the next book you’re working on?

I’m illustrating an interesting and innovative story called, Following Featherbottom. The hero is a letter-gathering stork named Felix Featherbottom. I’d love to tell you about some exciting elements to this story but I can’t elaborate just yet. I’ll be adding information to my website as Felix prepares for take-off, so stay tuned!

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