Friend Friday

What can I say about Kevan Atteberry? I love this guy and am so pleased he’s agreed to be a guest today. He’s not only a talented book creator, he’s a terrific human being. I feel proud to count him as a friend.

The very serious Kevan Atteberry

I’ve wanted to make picture books since I was the target audience of said books. When I thought I was going to college as a math major I wanted to make picture books. When I switched my major to fine art (because, duh, what was I thinking?) I wanted to make picture books. Even when I quit college (because a degree in fine art was not going to make me a fine artist) to be a teamster and drive a forklift I wanted to make picture books. I eventually started my own graphic design company, got married and had kids and I still wanted to make picture books. 
About 10 years ago (and after many years trying) it began to happen. I got my very first illustration job for a trade picture book. Then in the next few years I had a flurry of other picture books offered to me for illustrate. Some of them went on to be award winners. Each book I worked on was a joy. Interpreting someone else’s manuscript visually was both challenging and rewarding. As each book came out, and even though I saw dozens of things wanted to change or fix in it, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. Oddly enough, the one thing I did not feel was a sense of ownership. It didn’t feel like “my” book. It felt like the author’s book that I was lucky enough to illustrate. Even as I did signing events, the whole ownership thing evaded me. I know it is silly (neurotic?) and that the books were collaborations, but there was still this sense of “it’s not mine.” Maybe it is because the initial idea or story is the author’s; I don’t know.

But now, my first authored picture book, BUNNIES!!!, is coming out on January 27th. (Of course I illustrated it too.) And I’m thrilled and terrified and proud and insecure. Writing is hard. Much harder than illustrating. And I’ve been working towards this for so long. The curious part is I wrote and thumb nailed the whole book one dreary day in December 2012. One day. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but I know that is not how books are usually conceived. It was nearly perfect from the start and only a handful of words changed since the first draft.

I can tell you the feeling of having a book come out as an author/illustrator is completely different than having one come out as solely the illustrator. I am completely behind this book because it is completely mine. Ownership is not up for debate. I’m having a book launch for it in a couple weeks and I am scrambling to try and decide what exactly that will entail.  Surely it will involve a reading of the book—it is a marvelous read-aloud book—and signing of purchased copies, but what else? Themed snacks? Wine? Juice? Water? Activity and color sheets for the kids? Giveaways? So much to figure out, so much to do, so little time. I’m going to have to call in some favors.
It is an important milestone and I want it to be just as special for everybody else as it is for me. I realize how unrealistic that is, but still…

Kevan is an illustrator/writer living in the Seattle area. He has designed and illustrated many things including award-winning children’s books. Among them are FRANKIE STEIN, by Lola Schaefer, and TICKLE MONSTER, by Josie Bisset. His first authored picture book, BUNNIES!!!, will be out on January 27th from Katherine Tegen Books, the first in a two-book deal. And yes, he illustrated it too. But up to now, Kevan’s biggest claim to fame is creating Clippy the paperclip helper in Microsoft Office, which still annoys millions of people every day.

Kevan is having book launch party for BUNNIES!!! at 6:00pm, January 28th at the University Bookstore in Bellevue.

No Responses to “Friend Friday”

  1. Rosi

    What joy is in this post! Congratulations, Kevan. This is a truly wonderful thing for you and for all your future readers. I will definitely be checking this book out. It looks adorable.

  2. Penny Parker Klostermann

    BUNNIES!!! is an awesome book. I was lucky enough to see the F&Gs!!! It’s so fun. A great read-aloud like Kevan said. I laughed each time I read it…I read it many times 🙂 Congrats, Kevan!