Hello, Wendy! Thank you for joining me here!
Hey Dylan! Thanks for having me.
Tell us a little bit about your 2018 book, Nanny Paws!
Nanny Paws was inspired by my little white standard poodle LaRoo, and the children next door. For a while, LaRoo and I got the kids up and off to school in the morning. They started calling her, “Nanny LaRoo,” and the story took off from there. However, LaRoo’s polite and rather serious demeanor is the opposite of Nanny Paws’ dog-centric joie de vivre. LaRoo does share Nanny Paws’ love of children though, and I’m looking forward to taking her with me to story times. I even had a Nanny Paws collar with I.D. tag made for her.
Have you always been into writing and illustrating?
I’ve always made up stories, especially while I’m drawing. In jr. high, I had a great mentor in my creative writing and journalism teacher, Joel Tankenson. I was going through a rough time in my life, and Mr. Tankenson was my rock. He didn’t know it, but his class was my refuge and consolation. We recently connected on Facebook, and I was able to tell him that – and he got to tell me I was one of his favorite students! Music to my ears, to mean something to someone who meant so much to me. I have such great respect for teachers: hand over heart, I salute you all.
Drawing: Yes, always. Every day since I can remember.
What inspires your creativity?
Any time I drive or walk somewhere new, or look up through tree branches, or get down on the ground with the ants, I feel a charge. Charge of what, I couldn’t say, (and wouldn’t want to limit with a name or definition) but there’s a sprig of hope attached to it. And hope leans on next, and next becomes now, and being in the present is to be aware of being alive and being alive, even in decline, is a creative process, so, let’s keep hoping.
A more concrete answer is, looking through books, stretching & yoga, talking to creative friends. The Thesaurus is handy for sparking ideas. Sometimes I make an Insight Book*, or doodle. Museums and plays, of course. I just got a metropolis of inspiration: “The Book of Symbols, Reflections on Archetypal Images,” published by Taschen.
*Insight Books: https://www.wendywahman.com/insight-books
What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?
I have a post-it next to my computer that reads, “Not now.” To shush my foul mouthed inner critic, so I can get my work done.
If you weren’t writing and illustrating books, what do you think you’d be doing?
I always think my last book will be my last! Practically speaking, I’d market my map making, info-graphic & graphic’s skills. Artistically, I’d do something with my ‘Wendoodles,’ and teach more Insight Book classes.
If I could magically transform into someone capable of doing something other than art, I’d raise miniature goats and teach yoga on the side.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
I’d like to do sequels for Nanny Paws and Pony in the City. Right now I’m working on a new picture book about time. I’m also writing about my year in the seventh grade (see above comment about a rough time in jr. high). It might take shape as a graphic novel, magazine length piece, or maybe it’s just something I need to do for myself.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?
Friends in California, I’d love to to celebrate the release of “Nanny Paws” with you and yours, the last week in June. My calendar is here.
Links & urls:
Insight Books: https://www.wendywahman.com/insight-books
The Whatsits on FB: https://www.facebook.com/5Whatsits/
My books on INDIE BOUND: https://www.indiebound.org/search/book?keys=author%3AWahman%2C%20Wendy
Former Seattle P-I newspaper artist, Wendy Wahman now writes and illustrates children’s books. Her debut picture book, “Don’t Lick the Dog,” was selected as a 2010 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, starred for Outstanding Merit and accepted to the Society of Illustrators Original Art show. Other books include “A Cat Like That,” “Snowboy 1,2,3,” “Rabbit Stew,” “Pony in the City,” and “Nanny Paws.” Wendy’s editorial illustrations have appeared in major publications including Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times and the Harvard Business Journal. She lives in Tacoma with her husband, writer Joe Wahman and their two kids – who surprisingly, look and act just like standard poodles. Website: http://www.wendywahman.com
Wendy also teaches art and bookmaking to children and adults, and is available for children’s book storytimes, and school presentations.
more odds and ends:
Wendy Wahman has had a number of jobs, including veterinary technician, dog trainer, security guard with her partner, a big red doberman named Willy, graphic designer, toy designer & technical illustrator. She was a staff artist for the Seattle P.I. until it closed it’s doors in 2009.