Don produced all his illustrations himself, the full four color separations, by hand. This means that each illustration is actually four black illustrations, one for each color: red, yellow, blue and black, each one on a separate transparent sheet. Don had in his head the image that the four colors would produce when all were overlaid together in the final printing. In addition, Don was a creative graphic artist. Each one of his books was illustrated in a slightly different way, he never did the same thing twice! For instance, the illustrations for A Pocket For Corduroy were the most spontaneous that he ever did. To make sure that the final printing came out the way he wanted, Don would go to the press when the final print was to be done. Don created one set of illustrations for a book and in a letter wrote that it was “the most beautiful I have ever done - this one I will let the publisher do the separations.” This book, interestingly enough, was never finished.
Don published over 20 books for children in his lifetime, most of these by The Viking Press (now a division of Penguin USA). The first book by Don and his wife Lydia was Chuggy and the Blue Caboose
Published in 1950 by the Viking Press
Editor: May Massee.
In an interview in 1994 Lydia explained how Chuggy was created. Click on the image to the left to read her story.
A Pocket for Corduroy
(The last book Don completed when he was alive. He did not get to see the published book.)
First published in 1970 by the Viking Press
Editor: Linda Zuckerman
Don’s studio while working on Pocket was above a Laundromat in Santa Barbara, California. There he met and talked to the people who came in everyday and especially the man in charge. All these found their way into the story.
Click on the image on the left to see an example of a draft of the last page from A Pocket for Corduroy.