I must say I have been absolutely enthralled by everybody's posts so far. It has been great stepping inside so many creative peoples' brains and learning about (OK, stealing) their creative processes.
Onto the questions.
What am I currently working on?
At the moment, I am working on a religious board book which has been a ton of fun so far. The publisher is looking for a "Joyful Jesus" and I have very much enjoyed this. Hard not to smile when Jesus is beaming back at you from your drawing board!
Beyond that, there are always several ideas for picture books and even a middle grade novel swimming around in primordial state in my creative petri dish. I have a picture book in the story development stage which has me nearly driving off the highway as I struggle to solve plot problems during my work commute. I also continue to chase that big picture book or chapter book series illustration job which is right around the corner. I'm sure of it.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I don't really know the answer to this. When I compare my work to others', I usually get frustrated because everybody is so awesome! But like all illustration, my work has an original quality that I believe makes it recognizable as my own. I have been told that there is a joy and a safeness to my drawings. If I had to pinpoint my inspiration, it would be a sort of warm-fuzzy nostalgia, deeply rooted in my first-grade classroom where Ms. MacLendon played the auto harp while the class sang "Free to be You and Me".
|From "Moose n' Me" by Kenny Loggins, ©2011 Good Ol' Dog Publishing|
|From Highlights Magazine for Children, ©2014 Highlights for Children, Inc.|
Why do I write and illustrate what I do?
I create what I do because, quite simply, it makes me happy. Somewhere inside of me remains that little first-grader. He refuses to grow up and enjoys entertaining himself with drawings of fuzzy animals and happy children and every now and then eating too many Circus Animal cookies.
|A Fox in Summer ©2013 Joshua Nash|
How does my creative process work?
I get most of my ideas while mowing the lawn. I once heard an interview with a poet who said his creative process involved going out into his garage and sorting different sized nuts and bolts into individual coffee cans. That sounded pretty crazy to me until I realized I did a lot of my creative thinking while doing mindless chores. So coming up with new ideas for a drawing or solving a story problem is likely to happen behind the lawn mower.
I actually do a lot of visualizing and dreaming in my head before I start sketching out an idea. I like to get to know my idea first. Where did it go to school? Does it like Indian food? Coltrane or Parker? After that, it is the typical "scribble begets thumbnail begets sketch begets painting" routine. I paint using Windsor & Newton watercolors and add a final line drawing over the painting with a black Prismacolor pencil. Usually a Verithin pencil depending on the line weight I am looking for.
And now it is my distinct privilege to pass it on to two extremely talented illustrators, Becka Moor and Blythe Russo, both of whose work I absolutely adore.
That covers it, I think! Thank you for reading. If you'll please excuse me, I have some lawns to mow.