My “Ah-Hah!” Illustration Moment
1959 – I was in Miss Sporty’s kindergarten class, and I happened to pick up a big picture book called “The Golden Book of Dinosaurs.” The illustrations were simply amazing. The book literally began the direction of my life because I started drawing, copying the dinosaurs in crayon, over and over again, creating what was my very first serious art. By Second Grade I was so good at it I was swapping T-Rex sketches for Twinkies.
1973 – I was attending a prestigious art school in New England taking a Water Media Painting studio because (I was told) the professor taught traditional egg tempera painting techniques, skills I desperately wanted to learn. The professor was an elderly white-haired pipe-smoking gent who tended toward bulky hand-knit sweaters and ran a very low-key studio: you painted, he went one-on-one with you when you asked, and you learned. His name was Rudolph Zallinger.
One day Professor Zallinger asked if we would mind seeing some of his own work. The next class he arrived with a small, framed painting covered in a towel. He set it on an easel, and lifted the towel away, revealing a Jurassic scene of a T-Rex-type carnivore taking a bite out of a Triceratops-type herbivore. My mouth dropped open, and I stammered, “That’s an illustration from ‘The Golden Book of Dinosaurs’.” Zallinger smiled around his pipe. “Why yes it is,” he said.
Keith Minnion sold his first short story to Asimov’s SF Adventure Magazine in 1979. He has sold nearly twenty stories and novelettes since. Keith has illustrated professionally since the early 1990s, and has also done extensive graphic design work for the Department of Defense. He lives in a small town in eastern Pennsylvania. He is a former schoolteacher, DOD employee, and officer in the U.S. Navy. Keith has a short story collection called “It’s For You” out in print from White Noise Press, and in all the electronic formats with Crossroad Press. He also had a long story called “Island Funeral” published in 2011 in chapbook format by CD Publications. His first novel called “The Boneyard” (published as “The Bone Worms” in electronic formats from CD Publications in 2011) will be republished in 2013, greatly revised, in both soft and hardcover from Bad Moon Books. Stories in Eulogies II and Postscripts are also forthcoming.
A note about the article: If you follow your passion wherever it leads, your hard work and dedication will bring you full circle. You might learn from the one who inspired you to start your journey. You might be sitting next to the writer you have always admired at a signing. If we don't forget what it was like to be that kid absorbed in a picture book, then we won't lose that sense of wonder and imagination. And what is art but the expression of our imagination? - Draven