Illustration Station

SCBWI Bulletin Cover & Interview

I had the honor and privilege of making the cover art for The Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators May/June bulletin! I even got interviewed like a famous person! Unfortunately, only members can view the bulletin, but they’ve allowed me to repost the interview. If you are a children’s writer or illustrator, I highly recommend joining!

Ricky Raccoon in Space! Just another casual day...

Ricky Raccoon in Space! Just another casual day…


A Chat with May/June 2013 Cover Illustrator Mike Curato

by Sherrill Kushner

MICHAEL CURATO, WINNER of the 2012 SCBWI Winter Conference Portfolio Showcase, was born in Nanuet, New York. He earned his B.A. in illustration from Syracuse University, worked as a graphic designer for Microsoft and Amazon, led an in-house creative team

for, and is cofounder of Queer Getting Married, a website for gay couples to create customized wedding invitations. Henry Holt Books for Young Readers signed him on for a three-book series starring his Little Elliot, starting fall 2014. In 2010, he illustrated Amy Jones’ Mabel McNabb and the Most Boring Day Ever.

SCBWI: What were you like as a kid? MIKE CURATO: I was obsessed with drawing and wrote my own stories. My first book was an illustrated cookbook with such culinary classics as “PB&J Sandwich”. After begging my mother not to send me back to pee-wee basketball, she enrolled me in art class. Continue reading

Illustration Station, Mikesville

A Coloring Contest of Lunar Proportions

Yesterday I had the honor and privilege of co-judging a coloring contest! Several months ago, I made an illustration for the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience‘s annual lunar celebration. 2013 is the year of the snake. Here is my happy little guy, focused and disciplined.

WingLuke_LunarNY2012_finalI love the Wing Luke. I would encourage anyone to visit. I think it’s best summed up in their own words:

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience is dedicated to immersing people in uniquely-American stories of survival, success, struggle, conflict, compassion and hope. The Museum is in the heart of Seattle’s vibrant Chinatown-International District, and includes the very hotel where countless immigrants first found a home, a meal and refuge. As our nation’s only museum devoted to the Asian Pacific American experience, it’s one of the few places that can truly give you a new perspective on what it means to be American. The Wing is a Smithsonian Affiliate, a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution.

WingLuke_then&nowIn addition to many permanent exhibits and rotating shows, the Wing Luke provides the community with many events and activities. A very popular one is the annual lunar new year coloring contest. Continue reading

Illustration Station, Kidlit County, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Little Elliot, Big City Sneak Peek!

I am so very very very excited. My friends at Henry Holt have given me the thumbs up to share some spreads from Little Elliot, Big City, which is due to hit the shelves Fall 2014! Since we have over a YEAR to wait for that, I am going to give you a periodic sneak peek every few months!

Here is today’s featured spread!!! (click to enlarge)

E Train

He was shorter than most people and had to be extra careful not to be stepped on.

This was certainly one of the most complicated spreads in the book. It took a very long time, and a lot of research! It all started with this little thumbnail:


The book has a 1930s/40s feel, so I needed to do some research to see what the New York subway used to look like then. I visited the archives of The New York Transit Museum in downtown Brooklyn for more information. They had photographs showing what the subway has looked like throughout its 109 year old existence. It was Christmas morning for the history nerd in me, although it was actually an afternoon…in February…in a basement. STILL! Excitement all around.

We had to handle the photographs with archival gloves. I was a full-fledged researcher!

I had to handle the photographs with archival gloves. I was a full-fledged researcher!

I searched through the physical photos, while my lovely "assistant," Julia, scoured MTA's online image records.

I searched through the physical photos, while my lovely “assistant,” Julia, scoured MTA’s online image records.

So, after gathering all of my subway research and combining it with my period fashion research, I was able to make this composition:


Add shading, scan, color, and stir: e voila! One spread made to order!

Stay tuned for more sneak peeks to come.