Look at that sweet girl, all bundled up in red and holding a small fur ball of warmth. Can you feel the cold? This is Annie’s first auction entry for Robert’s Snow. She was inspired to work on this project for its amazing opportunity to do something good for the world, and participate with other children’s book artists, many of whom are her heroes.
Today in Barrow, Alaska the high is 16 degrees and the low is 12. The wind chill makes is feel as though it were -4 degrees. The sun rises at 12:33 PM and sets at 1:50 PM. This is the home of Annie Patterson, my final artist for Robert’s Snow.
Annie has lived in Barrow, Alaska for the past six years. . Barrow is a small village at the tip of Alaska, only accessible by airplane. It has been home to Inupiat Eskimos for thousands of years.
She grew up in Washington State and attended the Art Institute of Seattle. She worked at the local library here for 5 years, and really enjoyed it. A mall world story: her children’s librarian is from Woodland Washington about 30 minutes north of Vancouver, where I teach.
Annie is currently working on illustrations for a children’s book about sea turtles right now. She has spent a lot of time learning about them by looking at lots of pictures and videos of tropical underwater scenes. Illustrating books brings her into another world.
The book Whale Snowby Debbie Edwardson and illustrated by Annie, won several awards including the National Council for the Social Studies/Children’s Book Council- Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, 2004 and Notable Books for a Global Society, 2004.
Here is how Annie answered my random questions:
What are you currently reading?
Making Color Sing, by watercolorist Jeanne Dobie, is at the top of the stack next to my bed. It’s a watercolor how -to book with great tips on mixing yummy colors. I actually have stacks of books and magazines all around the house, waiting for me. Among them are Red Butterfly by Deborah Noyes and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, Children’s Book Illustration Step by Step Techniques by Jill Bossert, Snow White, illustrated by Julie Monks, Sadie Brower Neakok, a biography of an Inupiat Eskimo woman who lived here in Barrow Alaska all her life. Her father was one of the first white whalers, from Massachusetts I believe, to settle here in the early 1900′s, and her mother was Eskimo. Sadie had an influential life here and there is a playground named after her. I love magazines too and have them all over; everything from Communication Arts to Cloth Paper Scissors to Juxtapoz. Also, I have many sea turtle books next to my drawing table, because I’m working on illustrations for a picture book about them. And then there are my daughter’s books which are usually strewn across the floor and well read. Lot’s of board books. She loves the Karen Katz lift the flap books, and I Spy books.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Charlotte’s Web. I used to climb a giant old cedar tree stump in our yard in Washington State, with my yellow Labrador dog friend (yes he climbed up too) and draw pictures of farm scenes like those in Charlotte’s Web. Also, the book Cricket in Times Square was fascinating to me; I loved looking at the Garth Williams illustrations so much. Also, all of the Richard Scary books. My mom still has one of my childhood drawings of a little bear in a purple dress, fashioned after the Richard Scary characters.
Chocolate: Dark, Milk. or White?
Dark, milk, and white….in that order. Hehehe.
Whom would you most like to meet?
Lisbeth Zwerger, the Austrian illustrator.
If you were not an artist, what would you like to do for an occupation? It’s difficult to imagine not being an artist. As most of us artists say, it’s just who I am. I’d like to write my own books. I’ve got stories in the back of my mind waiting to be put to paper, and now I have a toddler and get to see into her magical little childhood world, getting lots of new ideas. I’m also interested in graphic design, children’s book design, typography, etc.
Do you prefer the Alaskan winters or summers?
I prefer the summers, definitely. There is more to see and do outside. However once in a while, amazing things happen in the winter sky with the Northern Lights, and sometimes the moon is out too, and there’s this otherworldly glow across the snowy landscape- and those times sort of make it worth going through the cold dark winters, because it’s just so beautiful.
Be sure to visit Annie’s website. You can see more of her illustrations. Don’t forget the first auction begins tomorrow. Which snowflake will get your bid?
Hapy Reading. Happy Bidding.