For better or worse, this illustration represents my childhood relationship to my brother and sister (psst...I'm the one in the middle, wearing the tablecloth-cape and corrugated sword). Thankfully, they still love me.
The children's book that probably had the longest lasting impact on me was one that I discovered over two decades ago in my local library in Houston called, Album of Sharks, written by Tom McGowen and illustrated by Rod Ruth. And it was Ruth's powerful, bold, wonder-inspiring illustrations that left such an indelible mark on my developing psyche that despite not seeing the book for over twenty years, I could remember nearly every illustration. One of these days I hope to write and illustrate a book with that same power. This image, my depiction of one of my favorite animals, the American alligator, an animal I have personally seen up close in the wild, is my first attempt at realizing this vision. I hope you enjoy it.
There was just one pint. The bartender and all the other customers had run out the backdoor when the enormous hulking mass approached the window. I alone had stayed. I wanted that pint.
"Breakfast?" it seemed to gesture. Rob rubbed his eyes hoping to erase the image before him, but the smiling figure was still there. It was shaping up to be a rather strange day, he thought.
Stacy gazed out the dining room window as she had done every afternoon that summer when her eyes locked with the unflinching stare of a rotund green mass perched on her neighbor's fence. It looked like some sort of bird, though she doubted it could fly with its stubby little wings protruding from a body shaped like an under-inflated beach ball. She wondered how it had managed to perch itself on such a high and precarious post.
No one would believe her. She had to find her camera —quick. "Please, please, don't go flying, or whatever, away," she silently urged the clumsy-looking green mass as she stealthily swung her legs over her chair and hurried out of the dining room.