Inside the Studio with Lindsay Ward, Author-Illustrator of It’s Show and Tell, Dexter!
Sponsored by Two Lions, Amazon Publishing
The Children’s Book Review | August 28, 1018
Lindsay Ward is the author of the Dexter T. Rexter book Don’t Forget Dexter! Though she never got to bring an orange dinosaur to Show and Tell Day, she did once take all four albums of her sticker collection. She is also the author and illustrator of Brobarians, Henry Finds His Word, and When Blue Met Egg. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play. Most days you can find Lindsay with her family, writing and sketching at her home in Peninsula, Ohio.
Inside Lindsay Ward’s Studio
I write and draw from my home studio in Peninsula, Ohio in the middle of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. My studio is set up in a small bedroom at one end of our house, which is a long ranch-style home from the 1940s. It’s a small but efficient work space, and very cozy. Both my computer and drawing table are set up against the two windows in the room, so no matter where I’m working I can see the greenery outside and get natural light. I’m incredibly productive when it’s raining or snowing so the windows are key.
I’m generally pretty minimalist when it comes to my studio space. I try to keep it organized and tidy. My studio is usually a reflection of my creative state. If it’s clean, I’m working on new ideas. If it’s a mess, I’m in the midst of final art, and there is usually cut paper all over the floor. Once a book is done, I purge my studio of any scraps of paper and clean from top to bottom. I like each book to have a fresh start. One entire wall is painted black with chalk-board paint so I can work out storyboards for the books I’m working on.
And the rest of the room consists of an old science lab table that my computer sits on, a built-in book shelf filled with illustration books, an old drawing table from the 60s, a Kelsey & Co. Printing Press (for my stationery business, www.forewordpress.com), and a writing desk where I keep an aloe vera plant on because it reminds me of the movie Beetlejuice, one of the best works of creativity I’ve ever seen.
Lindsay Ward’s Creative Process
Usually I start with a concept or an idea of some kind, even if it’s in bits and pieces. I spend a lot of time mulling over my ideas before I put anything down on paper. Many cups of coffee, quite a bit of Jazz (or Rooty-Tooty music as my husband affectionately calls it), and long walks make up this part. I’m very cerebral during this stage, as I don’t have the patience to write draft after draft or draw sketch after sketch. This allows me to be pretty efficient once I do sit down with a blank sheet of paper and get my ideas out. Although I may have a rough idea for the visuals before I start, the story always comes first. I do a couple rounds of self-edits, share it with my critique group for initial feedback, go back and forth with my agent on edits, and then begin to put together a dummy and a few finished pieces of art. I don’t commit to the style or medium of art until I’ve finished the manuscript and have a pretty good sense of what I want the book to look like. Sometimes it’s cut paper and mixed media, sometimes it’s digital, sometimes it’s both. It just depends on what the book requires of me to successfully execute it.
I generally work very quickly once the book takes shape, usually finishing a piece a day or every two during the finished art phase. I like that every book is an entirely new creative process than the one before. I once read an interview with Kate DiCamillo where she compared writing a book to trying out a new recipe. I wish I could remember the exact quote, but the gist of it always stayed with me. The idea is that writing a book is like creating a recipe, once you’ve finished you know how to cook that recipe. But the next recipe you cook is completely different and you have to start from scratch, this time more knowledgeable and skillful, just like a book. I think that’s very true. Each book I write and illustrate is a whole new creative experience. Once, I’m done I know how to create that exact book. But the next one will have its own challenges for me to navigate. Creatively, this is the most difficult part, but it’s also my favorite. Although most of the creativity is up to me to produce, I’ve been very lucky in my career thus far to have worked with incredibly talented agents, editors, art directors, and book designers who’ve helped shape my books tremendously.
Learn More About Lindsay Ward
Written and Illustrated by Lindsay Ward
Publisher’s Synopsis: Dexter T. Rexter is going to school. But will anyone like him?
Tomorrow is the biggest event ever in Dexter’s life: his best friend, Jack, is taking him to school for Show and Tell Day! Dexter has been getting ready for weeks. But now he’s a little nervous. What if the other kids don’t like him? So Dexter decides to come up with a plan. He’ll wear a costume. Dinosaurs in bunny ears look good, right? He’ll recite state capitals starting with…uh…ah…er. Then he realizes something. He can’t dance. He can’t recite things. He doesn’t have ANY skills. What’s a dino to do?
This comical, interactive tale of belonging, friendship, anticipation, and first-day-at-school jitters lets readers experience the excitement and nervousness along with Dexter—and even offer him a little advice along the way.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Two Lions | July 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1503901377
Praise for It’s Show and Tell, Dexter!
“Ward’s gentle art features cut-paper forms with residual pencil outlines, providing an ad hoc quality to the spreads. Readers prone to anxiety over big events should be tickled by the idea that a toy has concerns too.” —Publishers Weekly
“Ward’s illustrations, made with printmaking ink, colored pencil, and cut paper, wonderfully capture Dexter’s every emotion and over-the-top ideas.” —Kirkus Reviews
Check out the fun coloring sheet here!
Enter for a chance to win a set of Dexter T. Rexter books; including It’s Show and Tell, Dexter!, written and illustrated by Lindsay Ward.
One (1) lucky winner receives:
- A copy of It’s Show and Tell, Dexter!
- A copy of Don’t Forget Dexter!
Giveaway begins August 28, 2018, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends September 28, 2018, at 11:59 P.M. MT.
How To Enter
- Complete the entry form below.
- Enter once daily (optional).
- NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.
- Enter between 12:00 AM Mountain Time on August 28, 2018, and 11:59 PM on September 28, 2018.
- Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.
- Winners will be selected at random on or about October 1, 2018.
- Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
- The Children’s Book Review is not responsible for prize fulfillment.
Prizes Courtesy of Two Lions, Amazon Publishing
Discover more books like It’s Show and Tell, Dexter!, written and illustrated by Lindsay Ward, on The Children’s Book Review by following along with our articles tagged with Back-To-School, Dinosaurs, First Day Of School Books, Friendship, and Lindsay Ward. And be sure to check out more authors and illustrators featured in our Inside the Studio column. This article was generously sponsored by Two Lions, Amazon Publishing.