I first learned about Yuyi, when I was taking an evening illustration picture book class taught by the same instructor that she had. Yuyi was the success story that everyone wanted to emulate, and for good reason. She has a very beautiful way of capturing and revealing the heart of the story thru her pictures. Her artwork picks up where the words leave off, making you linger before turning the page to read on.
Yuyi is a self-taught artist that draws strongly from her Mexican heritage. Her books have won numerous awards and honors including the Pura Belpré Award, the Christopher Award, and the Jane Addams Award.
Here is Yuyi’s Sketchbook Story ::
YM: Inspiration is the motor of my work… I labor to find stories within stories. Meanings, symbols, legends, myths, narratives passed on by our elders, they are all part of the process of my work. I ask a lot of questions, and the people that surround me provide me with answers, stories, and memories that will propel the images of the book.
YM: I also spend a lot of time looking. I look at faces, shapes, colors. I could say that the first step of illustrating any of my books, is finding things I love and looking at them for a long time.
YM: I love making dolls, and in one of the last images of Ladder to the Moon, I incorporated a doll that appears on the child’s bed, and which resembles her grandmother (a younger, vintage doll version, dressed similar to her).
YM: In anticipation of meeting Maya this April, I decided to make a real cloth and papper-clay doll just like the one in the book. This doll I gave to Maya. Here is my original sketches for the book and images of the result.
YM: The book debuted placing #4 in the New York Bestseller list. (If you want to see an exclusive peek click here.)
YM: A video where I talk about Ladder to the Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8RJc4TnBVY