Tony’s Insects Book #1
Pencil on paper
Collection of the artist
I was a kid who drew all the time. A lot of kids draw, especially in grade school and middle school and high school. But many times they stop drawing after a certain period of time, as the years go by. But for me, it was something that I really loved to do, so much so that even during summer breaks, I would set up little projects that I would do over the course of the summer while I was home.
It started when I was probably in fifth or sixth grade. I was collecting insects in my backyard in Florida, and so I would do drawings of the insects that I found and I would copy drawings out of field guides and encyclopedias. Each day I would do a few drawings and before I knew it, I had filled up this little tiny spiral-bound notebook with drawings of insects. And I really liked that. I liked that sense of accomplishment that I felt after I’d completed it.
A couple years later, I tried it again. I used an old school folder and I filled it with drawings of dragons and creatures and monsters. I was playing a lot of dungeons and dragons at the time and I was a big fan of fantasy movies as well, like Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal. So each day, I would come up with a creature or a monster or a dragon and I would write about it in this kind of natural history jargon. And before I knew it, by the end of the summer, I had filled an entire notebook with these drawings and these creatures.
That one, in particular, the Gondwanaland notebook, at the time I had no idea how impactful it would be on my life, I was only 12. But, many years later I returned to the concept of that for the Spiderwick Chronicles and Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastic World Around You.