TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Wendy Anderson Halperin

Wendy Anderson Halperin

Wendy Anderson Halperin says: "My Mother is an artist, my Dad retired from the fields of law and real estate. This however, is what they provided for me, my two sisters and my brother; never ending "fuel" for our curiosity and creativity. We grew up in an environment that was a dot to dot of self-made adventures. Not all adventures need take you to far away places. In my youth I scoured the beaches of Lake Michigan looking for interesting rocks that could be painted. I made clothes for crayfish I found in the river, and gave birthday cards to friends that were never purchased, but handmade at the kitchen table. It always seemed that no project was too large to undertake. My Dad in my eyes could always fix, repair, or figure out just about anything.

Growing up in the 50's and 60's STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN became a way for me to interact with the world. I built an eight foot tennis shoe you could sleep in, and painted large flowers on our car to make it more beautiful and even painted a large flower on the roof for airplanes to see. Junk was never junk but more likely an important ingredient for the next project. Our projects and ideas never seemed to be met with "Let me tell you why that won't work" but instead, "that's interesting, how are you going to do that?" Through all of this came both a learned persistence and a love of process.

When I entered college that was for me, the beginning of a more refined art period involving classes in figure drawing, painting, illustration, and the development of technique and ultimately "my style." After college I lived in New York City with a "nine to five" art job in television advertising which allowed me to pay my bills. After several years I realized this was not to be my career, but nevertheless an important experience along the way.

So I moved from the east coast to the west coast, and settled in California. No matter where I have lived I made it a priority to develop my art. I have also lived the part of the "starving artist" while waitressing, and cleaning houses during the daytime, then taking art classes, and visiting museums in the evenings. I painted and sold portraits, and still life works, because drawing and painting was always important to me.

I never planned to be a children's book illustrator but when the opportunity presented itself through a strange turn of events I had the extreme good fortune of submitting some sketches to Mr. Dick Jackson, a children's book editor. The illustrative drawings I did for a friend's book were not accepted. The good fortune was that Mr. Jackson liked my work and contacted me later to do the illustrations for another book, "The Lampfish of Twill". Now its eleven years and some 20 books later, and I LOVE being a children's book illustrator. STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN now allows me to take part in the world and put many of my favorite collected images into books for others to see.

And when I go back home with what may seem like an overwhelming, impossible new book project, there is my Mom and Dad who say, "That's interesting, how are you going to do that?"


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