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artwork by Peter Sis

I had the distinct pleasure of talking with Peter Sis on the phone yesterday after our radio interview on “This Week In Digital Media”. I was surprised by his openness and his willingness to share his thoughts with me. After all he has won The Robert F. Sibert Medal, Newberry Awards and Caldecott Honors. Shouldn’t he be more guarded and careful about who he talks to and why?

I have found that people like Peter and Roxie Munro, Greg Spalenka and others I’ve interviewed are open to discussing art, illustration and their views on life. This is a valuable lesson for artists. Some of us work in our studios or homes by ourselves and have no real interaction with humans for days on end. I spend most of my days on Skype with my partner Gregg. Not that we talk but just knowing he’s there helps me keep my sanity as I work away. I also have my two wonderful retrievers at my side when they’re not digging up the backyard. It’s a joy for me to connect with great people and great talents. I learn from them and I grow stronger. What I’m saying to you all is reach out and connect with other artists, not only in a social media way but in a personal way. If you admire an illustrator, call up or email and tell him/her. They will usually respond. Don’t let your fears stop you. Acknowledge that they exist and do it anyway. More often than not it will turn out positive and you’ll have made a new friend and colleague like I have with Peter, Roxie and Greg.

I posted this piece of art from Peter’s “Congregation of Birds” book. To me it symbolizes a lot of what I’m saying. “Fly together and we are one big beautiful bird”. That is at the core of the “Illustrators Journal’s mission. To bring artists together to share what we know with others and hopefully they will share back. Look, I used to be cynical about all this “touchy feely reach out stuff” but I’m born again in that sense. The more we share and know the better we all will be as artists and humans. It’s through our creativity and production that we enlighten and shine a light for others to see. (are you listening politicians?) So pick up the phone or email someone you don’t know who you want to connect with and see what happens. You just might be surprised.