canadian ~ twenty-first century literature since 1999



Patricia Storms is a freelance illustrator and cartoonist who loves to draw funny pictures for books and magazines. Some of her illustrated books are:
Good Granny/Bad Granny, A Sticky Mess and Fifty Little Penguins. She lives in Toronto with her husband Guy and two very fat cats in a 90-year-old house that is full to the brim with books. Her most recent book is a Halloween version of the "Twelve Days of Christmas," where ten children, two dogs and a cat enter a haunted funhouse. On their journey through the rooms, they encounter bats and witches and goblins. But one by one, they start to disappear. The book is called 13 Ghosts of Halloween.

(October 2007)




I guess I got started as an artist as soon as I picked up my first pencil. Or maybe it was a crayon. I donít remember that far back. But I do know that I was getting good comments about my drawing ability even on my kindergarten report cards (which I still have!).


My family certainly had a big influence on me. My mom used to paint with oils, and we had some of her paintings hanging in our house for many years. Both my parents loved cartoons, and there were a lot of cartoon books around the house. Both my parents were very encouraging about my drawing. But they were not so positive about me actually becoming an artist as a profession, because I guess they were afraid that I would be poor my whole life. So I actually worked in libraries for 10 years, and then worked as a graphic designer for another 4 years or so, before I finally decided to be a full-time illustrator and a cartoonist.


I wasnít exactly getting rich in those other careers, so I figured, why not do what I really want to do? It was a very gradual process for me, becoming an illustrator and cartoonist. I worked in full-time jobs (either in libraries or graphic design) and sold my art on the side for many, many years before I finally took the leap to become a full-time illustrator. Iíve been drawing full-time for about five years now. My reasons for wanting to be an illustrator and a cartoonist are really pretty simple, I think: it just feels so good to draw funny pictures!


Right now Iím working on a series of fun illustrations for a kidís magazine, as well as some cute cartoons that will actually be going into a serious book about communication in the business world. Iím also working on writing my own picture book stories, with the hopes of one day getting them published (and hopefully illustrated by me!)


I would tell anyone who is hoping to get into the business of illustrating to study lots of different subjects in school, not just art. Itís certainly very important to be able to draw, but even more important than that is to have lots of great ideas. The more you learn about the world around you, the better artist you will be.


Itís often the ordinary day-to-day stuff that inspires me. I seem to have an ability to see humour in everything around me. For example, right now Iím looking out the upstairs window of my house. Across the street some men are doing some construction work on one of the roads. The construction men are taking a break right now. Two of them are sitting on the loading part of the bulldozer, drinking coffee. They are both very dirty, and they are laughing and talking to some other men standing next to them. There is a big hole in the road right in front of them. For some reason, I find this image funny.


My favourite Halloween costume ever? This answer is very difficult. My mom wasnít the kind of mom who made Halloween costumes, and she wouldnít buy any, either. So every year I went out as a hobo. Not very inspiring. I really would have liked to dress up like a big rabbit.

I donít usually get dressed up in a costume when I give out candy on Halloween. But maybe I should get into the Halloween spirit, since Iíve illustrated a Halloween book. Perhaps this is the year I get my rabbit costume!






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