Sophie Blackall began her keynote address with a slide that introduced herself as "Sophie Blackall, Illustrator, etc."
So what's the "et cetera"?
She's an Aussie. As a girl, she "drew in the margins as I do now." Her childhood inspirations ranged from The House at Pooh Corner to Milly-Molly-Mandy - a favorite childhood book - to Edward Gorey. She applied for a green card and won the lottery! She has two children. She moved to New York City and now is part of one of the most dynamic studio groups going: with illustrators Brian Flocca, Eddy Hemingway, John Bemelmans Marciano, and Sergio Rizzier.
What are her tactics:
Sophie Steals: from own kids, it can be also called "borrowing" - Moby Dick, anthropological pictures of people, old school photographs, old guidebooks and letters and paint sets.
Sophie Collaborates: by doing drawings with friends and kids, making things around the house, and in that dang cool studio (mentioned above)
Sophie Does Puzzles and Sets Rules: Picture books are always a challenge to figure out, she says, so you have to set rules for yourself. The challenge of text or the lack thereof in picture books: illustrators are architects, landscapers, town planners, clothing designers, interior designer.
The takeaway, even from this amazingly quirky, colorful, and imaginative artist?
Kids know when you're faking it.
Where did you get your inspiration?