Thursday, May 27, 2010

Interview Adventure Series—Adam McCauley • 7

Adam McCauley enjoys illustrating, playing music, and making things. His illustrations have appeared in magazines, publications and campaigns world wide. Adam's work has been included in group shows in Osaka, San Francisco, New York, Tokyo and Nashville. He works out of his studio in the sunny Mission district in San Francisco.

Adam's clients have included Time, MTV, Apple Computer, National Geographic, Levi's, Viking, Harper Collins, Microsoft, and many others.

Adam's awards have included American Illustration, Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, Print Regional Design Annual, 3 x 3, and How Magazine.

Adam received the Society of Illustrator's Gold Medal for his illustrated monster stamp endpapers for the book "The Monsterologist:A Memoir In Rhyme" by Bobbi Katz.

CW: My goal so far with the various interviews of illustrators is to help of illustrators find there way. The following questions will be add to this underlying idea. Let's get started!

CW: How would you recommend to other illustrators to get there work published?

AM: Do the best work you can do, make it as interesting to look at and experience as it is interesting for you to do. Good work makes for good work received.

CW: Do you have any rituals that you go through before you can get to work?

AM: Lots of procrastinating, usually.

I do the laundry,

paint the back porch,

go shopping.

Then, I pull up a cup of coffee,

turn on some music and buckle down.

CW: What process did you go through to develop your styles.

AM: When I got out of art school, I was broke. It was expensive to make promotional material, unlike now with cheap printing and email. So, I promoted using the neighborhood copy machine. I developed my style so that it would xerox easily, hence my work became high-contrast black and white. This just happened to be exactly what newspapers needed, so I was able to get a lot of work for local and National papers, which in turn got me into color work for magazines and eventually kid’s books.

CW: You have a variety of styles all equally good as the next how do you manage them. Do art directors ever get confused?

AM: The only person who has ever gotten confused about my work is my rep. A lot of styles makes marketing more tricky. I make a point when I’m hired for a job to ask what of my work they like and are responding to. On my website I name the styles to help people communicate their desired style. Some illustrators make actual alias names for themselves, but I always thought that was a bit goofy.

CW: What style did you use for JUNE AND AUGUST?

AM: My “Otown” style,
which is what I’m most known for, especially in kid’s books. This style matured when I was living in Oakland, California, hence the name.

CW: June and August is such and abstract text which leaves a lot up to the illustrator for interpretation. After first reading it what were some of your first thoughts on how to approach illustrating the text?

AM: It was an intimidating book at first for me, mainly because it was Vivian’s first book not illustrated by J. Otto Siebold, who is a god to me. After I got over that, most of it came together pretty fast. The most difficult stretch was were they go through the jungle and everything gets quite holographic. It was a bit tricky to draw it in a way that was clear.

CW: What did you find most challenging and most rewarding about working on June and August?

AM: I enjoyed how easy you are to work with! It’s been great doing some readings with Vivian as well, she’s very cool and it’s fun to hear her read and explain some of her experiences with all of her great books.

CW: Do you also have time to do your own personal work? If so what is it all about?

AM: I try to find time for personal work. Mostly, it happens while on vacation, in my sketchbooks. But at home I try and paint, always abstract – I get tired of representation all the time, and it’s good exercise to focus entirely on color and composition and picture-making. It informs the representative work. Also, I’m a pretty active musician ( – currently playing with three different gigging bands – I consider this personal work, which also informs the visual work and provides a nice social contrast to the insular world of drawing in a studio.

CW: What makes an extraordinary picture book in your eyes?

AM: Good art, good design, good concept, good writing. Sometimes books sneak up me.

CW: Who are your influences.

CW: What is next for you? Have you ever thought of writing as well?

AM: I’ve written one book, my first, “My Friend Chicken,” which is out of print. Maybe Abrams will re-issue? :-)

CW: I for one can't wait to see what you do next. Thanks Adam!

Here is a trailer Adam made for June and August. He even did the voice over!

About the book
This imaginative story explores the concept that the greatest friendships can come to be if you are willing to overlook differences.

Vivian Walsh is the co-creator of several bestselling books for children. In June and August she once again makes a misunderstanding the humorous but pivotal moment that brings together two very unlikely friends. One night in the jungle, June is thrilled to see a shooting star, while August loves looking at the moon. Although they can’t see each other in the dark, the two promise to meet again the next day. But when morning dawns, they face a dilemma. How are June and August going to recognize each other?

About the author
Vivian Walsh lives with her three children in San Francisco, California. She is the co-creator of several bestselling books, including Olive, the Other Reindeer. Visit her Web site at Adam McCauley also lives in San Francisco. He has illustrated a number of books for children, including the Time Warp Trio series, by Jon Scieszka, and The Monsterologist, by Bobbi Katz. Visit his Web site at

Authors: By Vivian Walsh, illustrated by Adam McCauley
Imprint: Abrams Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 0-8109-8410-5
EAN: 9780810984103
Availability: In Stock
Publishing Date: 9/1/2009
Trim Size: 8 1/2 x 11
Page Count: 32
Cover: Hardcover with jacket
Illustrations: 32 pages of full-color illustrations

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great stuff, thanks for posting!

Mr. McCauley is one of those illustrators a I just can't get enough of. I see his work and I get all swoony like a 7th grade girl catching a glimpse of Justin Bieber on the cover of Teen Beat in the check-out lane of the supermarket. Or, you know, something like that...