My family has never been short on imagination. I was lucky to grow up before the rise of the video game, the iPod, the iPad, the smartphone, and the internet. My mom filled our rooms with shelves of books and art supplies and games that made us think. When we were bored, she'd tell us to read a book, but just as often as not, we would be outside playing some made-up game that was desperately fun. To this day, walking in to a children's book store, especially magical ones like Books of Wonder in NYC, makes me feel nostalgic and sad and yet very happy, all at the same time. My youngest brother had, and still has, an especially developed imagination, and he would spend hours fighting dragons and roaring like Godzilla as he pretended to battle Mothra or Gidorah or some other nasty Japanese monster. My oldest brother once made a drawing of Josh as he pretended to be Godzilla. Now that my oldest brother has a son of his own, I thought I'd reimagine that scene.
My baby nephew is awesome. He's perfecting animal noises and will soon be at that age when he'll enter the world of dragons, dinosaurs and giant mutant lizards from the sea. For a birthday present for my brother, I've drawn his son, now about twenty months old, dressed up for trick-or-treating. He's wearing his trusty dragon costume, designed to impart courage and to elicit monstrous roars. Hearing a step behind him, he starts to turn. What's that behind him? I was influenced in equal measure by Chris van Allsburg, Bill Watterson, and Maurice Sendak...three of the 20th century masters of drawing and storytelling. It's an homage to children with imagination and to that perfect age when a backyard can become a place of wonderful adventure.