The man behind the pictures

May 02, 1999|By Melody Holmes

David Wisniewski, winner of the prestigious Caldecott Award given annually to the most distinguished American picture book for children, never had any formal training in art. In college, he majored in drama. Author and or illustrator of 10 children's books, the Maryland resident spent time as a puppeteer and as a clown in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus before beginning his writing career.

Wisniewski's books are visually appealing. His method of illustrating with cut paper results in a realistic, three-dimensional look. Many readers think Wisniewski's illustrations actually seem to lift off the page. To create this effect, Wisniewski makes sketches of a picture and traces one element at a time onto thick, brightly colored paper. He then cuts out each element and puts these together with photo mounts and foam tape.

Wisniewski's writing and unique style of illustration can be found in these books:

"Sundiata, Lion King of Mali"

"The Wave of the Sea Wolf"

"Rain Player"

"Golem"

"Elfywn's Saga"

"The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups -- Revealed"

"The Warrior and the Wise Man"

"Tough Cookie"

"Worlds of Shadow: Teaching with Shadow Puppetry"

Pub Date: 05/02/99

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