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Melissa Sweet

As a child

I grew up in a suburban neighbourhood, with two brothers and lots of kids of all ages. My parents had projects going on from carpentry to sewing, and there was a lot of encouragement to make things. I had a little of the entrepreneur in me too. I’d make pot-holders and sell them to my friends’ mothers, and later I had a doughnut route, where I’d deliver fresh doughnuts on Sunday mornings by bicycle.

As an adult

I never thought I’d be anything but an artist. It wasn’t until I got to college that I wanted to be an illustrator. My freelance career began by illustrating greetings cards and, later, children’s books, magazines, toys and games. One of my favourite things to draw is maps of any kind. Every month I make maps for a gardening magazine, which covers two things I love – maps and gardens.

As an artist

I have illustrated more than sixty titles, ranging from board books to non-fiction for older readers. Each book calls for something different, and I spend a lot of time trying to work out exactly how I’m going to do my art, and what materials I’m going to use. If I can, I like to travel to do the research for the non-fiction books. I travelled to Egypt to see the pyramids and research tombs for The 5,000 Year Old Puzzle. Recently, I went to Kentucky and Pennsylvania for a book about John James Audubon, The Boy Who Drew Birds by Jacqueline Davies. I keep journals, and collect a ton of stuff along the way, because I never know what I might use in the books. I recently completed the first book I have authored, CARMINE: A Little More about Little Red Riding Hood.

Things you didn't know about MELISSA SWEET

  1. My favourite book as a child was Miss Flora McFlimsy’s Easter Bonnet.
  2. I have a dog called Rufus.
  3. I collect bits of rusty metal to use in collages.
  4. I start work early, around 7 am, with a cup of tea.
  5. I made a telescope with my husband.
  6. I live near a beautiful harbour, in a small town.
  7. I practice yoga.
  8. I read the New Yorker every week.
  9. My favourite cookie is “Hobnobs”.
  10. I love old stamps.

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