The Children’s Book Review | October 2, 2017
DANIEL MIYARES is the author and illustrator of Float, an ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book of the Year, which The Boston Globe called, “a perfect wordless book;” Pardon Me!; and Bring Me a Rock! He also illustrated Surf’s Up by Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander. He lives in Kansas City, MO, with his wife and their two children.
I make art because . . .
If I didn’t I would explode. Art has always been my way of making sense out of the world.
My latest published book is . . .
THAT IS MY DREAM! It’s my picture book version of Langston Hughes’s poem “Dream Variation”.
Art medium used . . .
Gouache on paper
Artistic process . . .
My process varies slightly depending on the story I’m working on. For THAT IS MY DREAM! I started with a lot of research. I’ve loved Langston Hughes’s work ever since I was a teenager, but I wanted to spend time getting to know about him, his life and the world around the time that “Dream Variation” was written. I also had to do quite a bit of journaling to get at how I wanted to tell this story. I actually had the book all drawn out for years, but after it was green lit it became clear that there were some ideas in the story that were unresolved. Understanding his poem was just as important as understanding how I felt about it.
I almost always start out with quick small thumbnails for my stories. I pin them up in my studio like a storyboard for a film. It helps me see the whole story at once, but also gives me the freedom to cut or add to it without a lot of fuss. I try to invest very little in to how these look. It’s really about making sure the right moments are appearing.
After I have my thumbnails where I want them, I try to move directly to putting paint to paper. Sometimes a book spread will require me to do some more detailed drawings to figure the image out, but often I like jumping to the paintings as fast as possible.
For this book I painted in gouache on Strathmore paper. Lately there’s not much mystery in how I’m making my images. I take my brush. I dip it in the paint then I go to work. I painted the backgrounds first to set the stage and then the characters – like actors on the stage. When I have my paintings where I want them I’ll scan all of my work and clean up and composite if necessary with the computer.
I am inspired by . . .
Too many things! Literature, film/tv, places I visit, other artists, friends. Probably the most inspiring thing for me right now though are my children. My daughter is 9 and my son is 6. They’re constantly helping me see the world in new ways.
My favorite place to create & illustrate is . . .
In my home studio. It’s my fortress of creativity. Everything is just the right amount of messy for me there.
My most used art supply or tool is . . .
My paintbrush for sure. I put a lot of miles on my paint brushes. Actually my favorite brush right now only costs about five dollars, so I don’t feel bad about putting it through the ringer.
Illustrator idols . . .
Lynd Ward, Alice and Martin Provensen. Lynd Ward for his draftsmanship and value composition. Alice and Martin Provensen for their staging and authenticity. I really admire how they told stories.
All-time favorite children’s book I didn’t illustrate . . .
The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel With Louis Bleriot by Alice and Martin Provensen
A literary character to create art with . . .
Well, it would be pretty cool to learn to make paintings that actually come to life like Felix Clousseau’s in Jon Agee’s book.
Currently working on . . .
A new book that I’m writing and illustrating with Schwartz and Wade called NIGHT OUT and one that I’m illustrating with Candlewick called THE LITTLE FOX IN THE SNOW written by Jonathan London.
Connect with Daniel Miyares
Written by Langston Hughes
Illustrated by Daniel Miyares
Publisher’s Synopsis: “Dream Variation,” one of Langston Hughes’s most celebrated poems, about the dream of a world free of discrimination and racial prejudice, is now a picture book stunningly illustrated by Daniel Miyares, the acclaimed creator of Float.
To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done….
Langston Hughes’s inspiring and timeless message of pride, joy, and the dream of a better life is brilliantly and beautifully interpreted in Daniel Miyares’s gorgeous artwork.
Follow one African-American boy through the course of his day as the harsh reality of segregation and racial prejudice comes into vivid focus. But the boy dreams of a different life—one full of freedom, hope, and wild possibility, where he can fling his arms wide in the face of the sun.
Hughes’s powerful vision, brought joyously to life by Daniel Miyares, is as relevant—and necessary—today as when it was first written.
Ages 5+ | Publisher: Schwartz & Wade | 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0399550171
Discover more picture book illustration inspiration and books like That Is My Dream!, written by Langston Hughes and Illustrated by Daniel Miyares, on The Children’s Book Review by following along with our Illustration Inspiration series and articles tagged with African American, Daniel Miyares, Freedom, Langston Hughes, Poetry Books for Kids, and Segregation.