Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Illustrator: Peter Catalanotto

Great article about Peter Catalanotto in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today. He will be speaking as part of the "Black, White and Read All Over" series presented by Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Karen MacPherson did an excellent interview with him. He discusses his childhood and supportive mother who provided a creative home.
"She would tell us that human beings are the only creatures who create art on purpose," said Catalanotto, who became a children's book illustrator and author. "Our family wasn't born with a magic art gene. It was nurtured in us."
After working as a freelance artist he got a chance to do some book jackets and then...
Richard Jackson, asked Catalanotto if he would be interested in illustrating a picture book titled "All I See," written by Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant.

"I had thought of picture books as being like 'Clifford, the Big Red Dog' and didn't really want to do that kind of art," he said. "But [Jackson] laughed and asked me the last time I actually looked at a children's picture book."

Under Jackson's tutelage, Catalanotto, who lives in Doylestown, Bucks County, discovered the joys of picture books. Unlike book jackets, where Catalanotto had to paint one image to symbolize an entire story, with a picture book he could let a story unfold slowly through page after page of illustrations.

"I really love the way I can tell the story with nuances, with foreshadowing," he said, adding that he discovered his talent for storytelling in pictures when his third-grade teacher allowed him to first draw his thoughts for his book reports and then add words.

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