12 Quirky Questions with illustrator Graham Lewis Fleming

Modified from the article at Kids Book Review with Kate DiCamilo. 1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. I have the hardest time answering questions and making decisions. But most people can figure that out pretty quickly. 2. What is your nickname? Gura. Because my full name in Japanese in a nightmare to pronounce. It sounds like a Russian bear with a cough. 3. What is your greatest fear? My children would be kidnapped, or a live radio interview, or doing taxes. 4. Describe your illustration style in 5 words. Whimsical. Lavish. Overworked. Delightful. Emersive. 5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as an artist. That's the most difficult question I've ever been asked.

Surprise Yourself

There are occasions when I complete an image and am pleasantly surprised by it. Perhaps the colors harmonize or the lighting sings and it's almost hard to believe I had a part in making it. I think, "There must be some other creative force that partnered with me in accomplishing the task." Perhaps I get surprised because all too often it's a battle. I am aware of the struggle of mucking through layers of failed brush strokes. I feel the tyranny of time and other obligations vying for my attention. And then once in a while, a light breaks through the clouds. The face of God shines upon me and a work of art emerges like a new morning.

When the mood strikes

One stigma of the artist is of a dreamer lounging around waiting for the moon and planets to align, and the mood to strike. Those of us who struggle with our art on a daily basis know otherwise. We often have to fight for the time to create. Some days I may only have 30 minutes to lay down a sketch and perhaps an initial color block in. I may even have to discover that time on the train—granted I can find a seat. And yet that is where I am so thankful for the iPad and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. These technologies make it possible to go beyond the days of pen and paper. They were your best friends, but you could only take your art so far. Now the possibilities are vastly increased. I primarily

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