Stacy Innerst is an acclaimed artist, illustrator and arts educator. He was born in Los Angeles and studied Art and History at the University of New Mexico.
His picture books for children have earned a host of starred reviews as well as numerous awards, including a 2017 NY Times/NY Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award (for Ruth Bader Ginsberg), the 2017 SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Illustration (for The Music in George’s Head), the BCCB Blue Ribbon, two Parents’ Choice Gold Medals and recognition by the NY Society of Illustrators, the Smithsonian and the American Library Association, among many others. M is for Music was named a 2003 Best Book of the Year by the School Library Journal and Levi Strauss Gets a Bright Idea was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2011. His paintings and prints have been exhibited widely in New York, California and throughout the United States and abroad. He lives in Pittsburgh.
The artwork for your pictures books is very unique. How did you develop that style of art?
I’ve always had a painterly, loose style and I studied painting and printmaking in college so that carried over into my work as an illustrator. I never really set out to develop an illustration style, per se, but I suppose I have over the years.
It’s more a function of doing what comes naturally and making pictures that I find pleasing rather than settling on a style. I love the way paint looks when it’s brushed onto a surface so that dictates pretty much everything I do.
How much planning and research do you do before you actually start painting?
The research component of my nonfiction picture books is actually quite time-consuming, but it’s also quite fun. The historical research leads me in directions that I might not otherwise go in picture-making. Part of my process is watching films that are set in the period I’m illustrating or researching the art and music of the era.
Which picture book was your favorite to work on?
I’ve liked them all for different reasons, but The Music in George’s Head was especially gratifying. I really liked being able to visually represent Gershwin’s music. It was a kind of visual poetry for me.
Who is your favorite illustrator?
If I have to pick just one children’s book illustrator, I’d say Edward Ardizzone or Leonard Weisgard, I think, but it’s tough! Tough question! It changes from day to day. A few of my favorite artists and illustrators, in no particular order: Vladimir Radunsky, Quentin Blake, Robert Lawson, Carson Ellis, Wanda Ga’g, Sydney Smith, Edward Gorey, Eva Bednářová, Roger Duvoisin, William Joyce, Oliver Jeffers, Lopez Rubio, Leonard Weisgard, Antonin Clave, Pablo Picasso, Edward Ardizzone, Ludwig Bemelmans, Sean Qualls, Willem de Kooning.
Do you have any upcoming books?
I’ve recently completed two picture books and the cover and interior illustrations for a middle grade chapter book. They should all be out next year. They are:
Saving Lady Liberty: Joseph Pulitzer’s Fight for the Statue of Liberty, by Claudia Friddell, Calkins Creek
The Book Rescuer, by Sue Macy, Simon and Schuster
The Mostly True Story of Pudding Tat, Adventuring Cat, by Caroline Adderson, Groundwood Books.
I’m super excited about all three! They’re wonderfully written books by excellent authors.
Where can your fans find you?
I’m on social media-- mostly on Instagram but also Twitter and Facebook --@stacyinnerst. My website is stacyinnerst.com.