Lauren was the mind behind the memorable drawings in The Misadventures of Melvin the Missing Sock, and she will fill the same role in my next children’s book Bertrand the Bashful Bumblebee. For those of you who have worked with a great illustrator, you know the feeling when you find someone whose art “clicks” with your vision—from then on, you can’t imagine anyone else doing the job.
It was funny in a way, because working with someone I personally knew was rather important to me—and at this point in my quest for an illustrator, I thought I had exhausted my list of contacts. Everyone I asked either had too many projects on their plate or was not suited to the style of art Melvin needed. But during the dark winter of 2019-2020, I received a message from one of my favorite English teachers from high school. Have you ever had a teacher who opened your eyes to a whole world of learning? Who radically changed your understanding of your own talents? Who, in a word, changed your life?
This was that teacher. We had kept in touch over the years, and I even dedicated The Exile to her, since she was the first teacher who took a personal interest in developing my writing abilities. Well, when she heard years later that I had written a children’s book and was looking for an illustrator, she told me she had just the person in mind: Lauren Fisher, a recent graduate from my old high school who had just begun an art program in college that fall. The teacher wrote us both an email, giving us a virtual introduction, and away we went!
What other children’s books did I like for their illustrations? Not entirely sure I could find an exact artistic match for Melvin, I told her something along the lines of Calvin and Hobbes and Dr. Seuss—cartoon-like, energetic, whatever it would take to bring a sock to life.
And did she ever deliver!
I’ll let Lauren tell you the rest of the story herself in the official illustrator interview next week. She’ll also share her own creative process and explain to the rest of us how on earth she comes up with the quirky, humorous characters that kids adore.
The interview will be in video form, published on March 6 on my YouTube channel, so you can either head there right now to subscribe or check back later for when it’s posted.