715 – Ted


Ted, “Let’s make him a swimming pool!”,
interior illustration from Ted
Acryla gouache on Bristol board
Collection of the artist

I get this question a lot, “What is your favorite book that you’ve created?” You know you spend a couple years making these stories, writing the story, figuring it out what it is, painting all the pictures, and so there’s a lot of love that goes into every book. But I have to say that Ted is always near the top of my list. It was such a great book to create. It was my second book with Simon & Schuster, and it was a very honest conversation that was going on between an older version of me in the form of the father, and a younger version of me in the form of the kid. And trying to balance that balance between, “will I be a workaholic who forgets the love and the playfulness of childhood, or will I forever be a child who has no responsibility?”

Those kinds of concepts and themes influence art. There’s a nostalgia to Ted, and that is again conjured by looking at Norman Rockwell and those paintings by him from the Saturday Evening Post covers. We had a huge book of the Saturday Evening Post covers that I used to look at all the time, and I conjured a lot of those imagery, especially the Triple Self-Portrait. In that portrait, when Rockwell’s looking at himself, his glasses are catching a reflection so you don’t see his eyes in it. And in Ted I used that as a device with the father, so to keep the father cold and disconnected from the reader, you never see his eyes until the climax of the book. They’re always hidden by this reflection.