650 – Diva And Flea

Diva and Flea

The Story of Diva and Flea cover study (drawn with Mo Willems)
Ink, artist’s marker, and digital collage
Collection of the artist

Usually, I am a logjam of stories that I have conceived in my brain and drawings that go along with those stories. Some of these stories have been released. Some of them, I’m still working on. So, it’s very rare that I will veer off and work on a story with someone else; but some years ago, I got a call from my friend, Mo Willems, and Mo had been living in Paris for a year and coming up with all kinds of great and new stories.

He gave me a ring and said, “I’ve been working on this story about a cat and a dog, and to be honest with you, I’ve been trying to draw the illustrations for this story in your style.” In typical Mo fashion, he showed them to his wife, Cher, and Cher said, “Well, do you know who draws like Tony DiTerlizzi? Tony Diterlizzi.”

So, Mo gave me a call. I was very flattered, of course, and he sent over the text. I, maybe, was one or two chapters in and I had already started drawing. I hadn’t even thought about it. I immediately grabbed a pencil and started sketching out the characters, and that’s a really good sign. That meant I was not only sucked in as a reader, but already thinking about how I would illustrate the book. That’s not a manufactured emotion. That’s a real emotion and I try to follow those emotions.