My Early Works: Evan Turk

In Books, My Early Works by Mel SchuitLeave a Comment

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“I made up stories…that reminded me of the stories I loved reading, hearing, and watching.”

Evan Turk, author-illustrator of THE STORYTELLER, talks about the picture books he made as a child and how they each inspired him to become the picture book author and illustrator he is now.

When I was in elementary school, I loved writing and illustrating picture books. Not much has changed! Most of my stories as a kid centered around whatever obscure animal I was currently interested in.

I had a book about a spoonbill—called Spoonbill, of course—which featured a poison dart frog (he became friends with a dragon, an ostrich, and a leopard, I think?), a book about all the animals of the world (some of which I made up), and a book about how to raise your pet chameleon (I never actually had a pet chameleon, but I gave the book great reviews…).

One of my favorite books I made was called Speedy’s Tale and it was about a baby sloth named Speedy (based on a stuffed animal I had) whose parents sent him on a train from Costa Rica off to get a job in the Florida Everglades when he turned 3 years old. It was very dramatic and even included the untimely death of one of the main characters.

I liked making stories that were like the Disney movies I watched over and over again as a kid (especially The Lion King), so there was no shortage of drama. I would also take pieces or characters out of other picture books I loved and put them right in the book! (This is actually illegal if you’re going to publish a book, but it was a good way to learn what I liked.)

Mostly I made up stories about whatever it was that I was interested in, and told stories with words and pictures in a way that reminded me of the stories I loved reading, hearing, and watching. And now I get to do exactly that for my job!

Check out our ALL THE WONDERS of The Storyteller post for more on this beautiful tale, including an exploration of how author-illustrator Evan Turk began his storytelling journey, a survey of programs around the world working to preserve the traditions of storytelling, and a craft that will help you tell your own stories for years to come.

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about the author

Evan Turk is an illustrator, animator, and designer working in New York City. He specializes in travel illustration, on-location event reportage, cultural children’s books, and concept illustration for video games, animation, and advertising. Visit his website here.

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