TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Susan Stockdale

Susan Stockdale

I was born in Miami, Florida, the youngest of five children. I had a great childhood playing outside with my friends, surrounded by lush vegetation and flowers, sweet-smelling jasmine bushes and skittering lizards. Miami was an idyllic place to grow up. I loved visiting the Parrot Jungle and was enchanted by the birds' bright, bold colors. My interest in animals - and my love of color - began in these formative years.


During my childhood, my father was named Ambassador to Ireland, another wonderful place to live. The Irish landscape was green and sparkly, filled with cows, horses and other animals I'd never seen in tropical Miami. There were storybook castles and churches everywhere. I read about leprechauns in Irish folk stories and firmly believed in them!


These two very different environments -- the sunny tropics of Miami and the magical surroundings of Ireland -- really influenced my development as an artist, though I didn't begin painting seriously until I began college. When I did, I was drawn to colorful, fanciful imagery, an outgrowth of these early experiences.


I developed my love of words from my mother, a poet and author. Her work was published in many magazines as well as books. My favorite was To Ireland, with Love, her poetic tribute to the people and place she grew to love while we lived there. Watching my mother persevere through lots of rejections from publishers and succeed in her writing career was a great lesson for me: be persistent and never give up!


I began painting fantasy landscape and animal imagery at Occidental College in Los Angeles, becoming an art major. During my junior year I lived in Spain and took a class with a gifted illustrator of children's books. After college graduation I held many "day" jobs – art gallery manager, special events coordinator and public relations director - while continuing to paint. I also designed covers for note card companies. As my work evolved I began to create intricate, colorful patterns. This led me to freelance as a textile designer for the apparel industry, designing fabric for companies such as Martex, Belle France and John Anthony.


After marrying and having a family, I was always taking my young kids to the library to check out picture books. I became interested in writing and illustrating a book of my own, but I needed an idea. Then, while once visiting the zoo, my children were amazed to see a flamingo standing on one leg - sound asleep. This was the idea I was looking for and inspired my first book, Some Sleep Standing Up, which explored the many ways in

which animals sleep. Since then I've written and illustrated four more nature books: Nature's Paintbrush; Carry Me! Animal Babies on the Move; Fabulous Fishes; and Bring On the Birds. Sometimes I think about creating a fictional book, but then I find another topic in nature that really interests me and I'm off researching again. I continue to find great joy in celebrating the beauty of the natural world in my picture books.


Books written and illustrated:

Some Sleep Standing Up

Nature’s Paintbrush

Carry Me! Animal Babies on the Move

Fabulous Fishes

Bring On the Birds