Ever since Chris Soentpiet was child he wanted to either be a teacher, an artist, or a police officer as a job. Two of those dreams became true. Right now he is a illustrator/author for many children’s books and a fine art gallery painter and before he became an artist he was a kindergarten teacher for one year.
Soentpiet has illustrated many books including “Coolies” and “Happy Birthday to You.” He uses water color for most of his paintings.
It takes him a long time to find out what the illustration is going to be but after he knows the setting the author is talking about in their book he can make a good illustration. It takes him a long time before the final painting is complete.
Soentpiet says that it usually take him 8 hours a day for 2 weeks just for 1 painting.
He takes pictures of live models to help with making the illustrations. Soentpiet has used his wife, his old kindergarten students, and even himself as a model.
He sketches his illustration out. After many draft thumbnail images he is ready to paint.
He paints the background first so he can determine the value and lighting of the main object in the illustration. Multiple coats of water color paint are used to get the color he wants. When he has the right color, he is finished and on to the next painting in the book.
Soentpiet says that most of his books are based on history. He first wanted to be a writer when he was in 3rd grade but he wasn’t completely sure. In 5th grade he was certain he was going to be a writer.
His teacher, Mrs.Miles, helped him understand that. Norman Rockwell, Soentpiet’s favorite illustrator, also inspired him to be a better writer and illustrator.