Ariane Dewey Books & Biography
As a team, Ariane Dewey and Jose Aruego have illustrated over sixty children's books, including Little Louie the Baby Bloomer and Leo the Late Bloomer. She lives in New York City.
In Her Own Words...
"My very first memory is of dark blue walls and off-white trim. My mother confirms this unusual baby-girl’s-room color scheme in the house where I lived until age one. Possibly this is why one of my favorite colors is darkish blue-jean blue. The other is brilliant orange.
"As a child I pored over Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium catalog of exotically colored fish that seemed too gaudy to be real. My mother and I looked through art books and then sketched portraits of each other or painted watercolors of the armloads of wildflowers we picked. We still love to discuss the subtle juxtapositions of the colorful scenes and objects around us.
"Art was the most enjoyable part of school. I liked to squish gobs of finger paint on wet paper, or to write, illustrate, and bind stories into books, or, best of all, to paint stage sets for the school plays. I began to look at whatever I saw in terms of which medium—oil, pastel, collage, watercolor—would best catch the mood and texture before me. At Sarah Lawrence College I majored in painting and sculpture. After graduation I couldn't find an auto body shop willing to lend me space to work on welded sculptures. So I got a job with an industrial design firm doing picture research, among other more mundane tasks, and later became an art editor for a textbook publisher.
"Soon after that I began writing and illustrating books for children with Jose Aruego, whimsical books with his clever lines and my vivid colors. Jose draws and I paint. We have illustrated some sixty books together, some of which we have also written. Critics have been kind, but, more important, children have been enthusiastic both in the United States and in the many foreign countries where our books have been published.
"My fingers finally became itchy to do my own drawings, so I started by retelling and illustrating the stories I loved best as a child. A mini-series of regional American tall tales enabled me to indulge my sense of the absurd. These heros and heroines are offbeat, upbeat, irreverent, hilarious, and a lot of fun to draw. Since I also love research, I delight in taking on nonfiction subjects and handling them with fantasy. Color is the basis of my art, while writing and drawing help to describe my colorful visions.
"Whatever the subject, I want my readers to stretch their imaginations, to see with their minds’ eyes what happens between one picture and the next. I want to make them explore and smile.
"I live in New York City with my husband, Claus Dannasch."