So I don’t know when I first became aware of Jerry Pinkney’s amazing illustrations, but I remember my very first book with his illustrations, ”Home Place” 1990. No I wasn’t a young child, I was a young aspiring illustrator with young boys and picture books were a treasure.
I loved his style, his design and the beautiful feeling of freedome that his illustrations displayed. I loved this picture book and studied the illustrations for hours. I read it to my boys. I went searching for more at the library
Barbara Williams took me to my first big SCBWI Conference in Los Angelos. What luck, Jerry Pinkney was presenting and signing books I had scraped up enough money for the conference but not much for books.
I was green. I didn’t know the proper manners for signing books. I had ”Home Place” at home and wanted a signature for it. I waited in the long line to meet Jerry Pinkney.
“So I have ”Home Place at home is there a chance you could give me a signature for it?
Jerry Pinkney asked, ”Did you buy it?
”No . It was a birthday gift but I asked my husband for it specifically.
Jerry Pinkney took a purple post it note and signed his name on the note and handed it over with a kind smile. I took it home and tucked it in my book.
So when money came, I bought more Jerry Pinkney books. When Jerry Pinkney came down to BYU in Provo, I once again stood in a long line. This time I had a book for him to sign This time there was a question running through my brain. What do you use to put the line around your illustrations? Could I ask him that question? Would he answer that question? I really wanted to know and there was no other way than to ask? You know that pit you get in your stomach the closer I got the bigger the pit got Finally I’m there at the table. Jerry smiles and signs my book. I open my mouth and the words actually come out. I get my answer, graphite pencil and indigo. It changed the way I did my illustrations.
Jerry Pinkney continued to inspire me with his books. I purchased them when I got a chance. I saw him on the streets of San Feancisco with his family one evening after signing books at ALA. I went and listened to him present at SCBWI in NewYork.
So it tugged at my heart when I opened my Publishers Weekly and read that Jerry Pinkney was gone. But he is still inspiting me. He was working on projects. That’s how I want to go out. Creating. Thanks Jerry for a lifetime filled with beautiful illustrations and books to cherish and love.