I was still in art school when I was offered my first paying job. My professor asked me of I would be interested in illustrating a book called Kouzelny Destnik, or, The Magic Umbrella. Of course I was very excited about the prospect of having my work published and agreed immediately! Sometimes I wonder if the copy I own is the sole remaining one in existence.

Le Francais Partout My early work in illustration appears mostly in school textbooks. Here's an example of a French textbook for Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Sometimes when I look back on these early works it makes me laugh a bit. This particular example is, if I do say so myself, downright funky; you just don't find typeface like that anywhere these days.

Doodle the Poodle It was while illustrating educational textbooks in Canada that I did Doodle the Poodle (written by Sherrill Ackland), a story about a poodle who just can't stay out of trouble. Needless to say, this book is no longer in print. Some time ago I was a flea market up near Bancroft, Ontario, and I chanced upon a copy selling for a quarter. "Oh my," I told the cashier. "I illustrated this book!" She laughed and said that if that's true I could have it for free, but I insisted on paying—it was a bargain, afterall.
The Big Yellow FrogAbout eight years later I did a book called The Big Yellow Frog. This was an interesting little challenge, because although the frog turns green at the end of the story, the book was a two-colour production. It was impossible to accomplish this if the text were in black ink, so I suggested we change it to blue, meaning we could combine blue and yellow to get green.

The Big Yellow FrogEverytime I look at a finished project I think about how I would change things were I to redo them, and this sentiment increases the older the books are. Of course, you can't get where you are without having been somewhere else before.

doodle the poodle spot lefrancais partou kocka
early work