PORTLAND, ME — This is a common question asked by college-goers. What did you learn there that helped you?
Brunswick-based Nisha Hudson is the author and illustrator of a new children’s book called The Best Flower Ever! I have a good answer. During her art college, she took a picture book course, which was both inspiring and informative.
“This is the aspect of illustration that allows you to put yourself on the page,” says Hudson. “I get to do a lot of different things. I don’t draw the same thing over and over again.”
Hudson’s new book tells the story of a dog with a simple but beautiful flower that compares to the more elegant and elaborate flowers that other dogs have. The message to children is that one should learn to appreciate what one has and not be envious of others.
As in all books for young readers, illustrations are very important. You have to engage the reader, or perhaps in this case, the page-turner who isn’t yet old enough to read a book. For Hudson, it’s impossible to keep track of how many versions of each photo he’s made.
“I paint in watercolor, but watercolor is not a perfect medium. It kind of has its own spirit,” she said. “I drew the character many times and painted it many times to get it right.”
Reading a children’s book may only take a few minutes. The same cannot be said for creating.
“Illustrating and writing children’s books sounds so easy,” says Hudson. “But it’s not easy.”