Author-Illustrator Spotlight: Michael Garland

© 2013 Michael Garland

We are very excited to interview award winning author and illustrator Michael Garland. Michael has been on the New York Times Best Seller list four times.

Michael's greatest success has been for writing and illustrating children's picture books. His MISS SMITH'S INCREDIBLE STORYBOOK won the California and Delaware State Reading Awards. He is currently working on his thirty first book as author and illustrator.

Michael Garland has illustrated for celebrity authors like James Patterson and Gloria Estefan. His illustrations for Patterson's SANTAKID were the inspiration for Sak's Fifth's Avenue's Christmas holiday window display in New York City. Michael's CHRISTMAS MAGIC has become a season classic and is currently being developed for a for a TV special.

Michael has generously donated his time to do this interview for KidLit411. Welcome, Michael!

How did you get started in illustrating? 

I graduated from Pratt with a B.F.A., but I didn't know a lot about illustrating when I first got out of school. So I practiced and took small jobs to earn my credibility. As I continued to improve my craft and gain experience, I was sought after to get additional projects, and to build my portfolio. Harper Collins then asked me to design covers for their backlisted books, and soon after came the opportunity to do my first picture book, the award winning, MY COUSIN KATIE. That opportunity came about mid way through my career. 

Has your illustration style changed over the years?

Yes. When I first began my style was very realistic, very Norman Rockwell-esq. As time went by however, I let go of that photo-dependant style and began embracing drawing from my imagination more. I started writing and illustrating together.

What are you working on these days?

I am always working on something new. I am always creating a project, whether that is writing, illustrating or painting. My newest picture book, TUGBOAT came out this past February. And another picture book, WHERE'S MY HOMEWORK will be released in June by Scholastic. I was honored that the artwork for TUGBOAT was showcased at the opening of the Society of Illustrators last month in New York.

Tugboat (Barnes and Noble)

What advice would you give to an aspiring children's writer or illustrator?

Do not quit. Do not give up. Write. Rewrite. Write some more. Even as many years as I have been in this industry, you cannot allow yourself to get discouraged, it will happen, because it happens to everyone. If you are an author/illustrator, make complete dummies of your project. 

Where's My Homework (Pre-order here!)

What is something about yourself that most people don't know?

I am an outdoor person. I love to hike and play golf. But I guess the one thing that people don't know about me is that although I am known for my picture books, I have just written my very first Young Adult novel! 

And the final KidLit411 question…

Do you like anchovies on your pizza?

I don't despise anchovies, but I am not a big fan of them either. 

Thank you, Michael for sharing your expertise with us! Good luck to you on your new YA adventure!

Michael Garland has had a long career as an artist and illustrator, but his greatest success has been for writing and illustrating children's picture books. Garland's book, MISS SMITH AND THE HAUNTED LIBRARY, made the New York Times bestseller list. He lives with his family in Patterson, New York. 

Visit him at:


  1. Thank you, Michael for taking the time and sharing your talents with us here at KidLit411!

  2. Michael has perfected such a lovely range of styles and looks! Personally, I love the Norman Rockwell-ish illustrations, but there's certainly something freeing about not adhering to a strictly realistic rendering. Still, I find that the best art comes from having a solid foundation in knowledge of proportions and movement of the human (or animal) bodies before branching out into more imaginative art...and his art definitely shows his solid background in the basics.

    Thanks for another fun interview!

  3. Thank you, Michael. Very inspiring interview!


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