When I was 5 years old, I drew pictures of a young boy doing all the things he wasn’t supposed to be doing. Under each drawing I wrote the words: “No, David!” I was delighted when my mother found these pictures and sent them to me. I patterned my book No, David! after my original 5-year-old drawings. It was the most fun I’ve ever had working on a book. When I bring this book to author appearances, I don’t even have to read. I just turn the pages, and kids shout out the lines. Kids really connect with David — he does all the wrong things they would like to do — so I wanted to keep David going. In David Goes to School, he writes on his desk, cuts in line, and gets in a food fight. But David isn’t bad intentionally. He’s just… enthusiastic.
I was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Spokane, Washington. As a kid, I loved Oliver Twist, but I liked the Artful Dodger more than Oliver. And I always thought the villains in Disney movies were really cool. But I wasn’t a troublemaker!
After graduating from the Art Center of College of Design in Pasadena, California, with a Fine Arts degree, I moved to New York City. I created illustrations for The New York Times, TIME magazine, and Rolling Stone. I also did artwork for a lot of book jackets.
The first thing I do when I’m writing a book is read the story a bunch of times. Then I try to figure out how to tell the story with pictures. The words tell one part of the story and the pictures tell another part. I make lots of thumbnail sketches. They’re called that because they’re about the size of a thumbnail, and they’re very scribbly. I also try to imagine what the people in the story look like.
Sometimes I make several drawings for one page! I tack sketches up on the wall so I can see how the pages relate to each other. The more I work on children’s books, the more I realize that storytelling is what has always interested me. I’m drawing many of the same things now that I drew as a kid.
I love baseball, playing softball, and reading to my daughter, Emma. She’s almost a year old. She pores over the illustrations, and wants to touch them. I live with her, my wife, Heidi, who’s an actress, and our West Highland Terrier, Fergus, in Los Angeles, CA. If you look closely, you’ll see Fergus in all of my books — somewhere!
copyright ? 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.