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Kevin OíMalley

Twenty-eight years ago, on a sunny afternoon, I found myself trapped in the elementary school library instead of playing kickball outside at recess. There I was, being punished for not keeping my trap shut in class, stuck with a bunch of fluffy kidís books and boring biographies about long-dead inventors while my friends were having good fun cracking wise and creating chaos without me.

Resigned to my fate, I grudgingly started to leaf through a pile of picture books. There were pictures of cute little ponies, cute little puppies, and cute little children with smiling parents beaming behind them. Yuck, yuck, and double yuck! Then, just when I thought I would fall off my chair and die of cuteness, I came upon a picture of a boy in a wolf suit who was threatening to eat his mother. In another picture he was chasing his dog with a fork. This was somebody I could relate to. I kept reading as the boy cavorted through the forest with big, hairy monsters. I loved it! The book was, of course, Where the Wild Things Are.

My mother tells me that I drew a lot as a little kid, and while I was certainly not the "best" artist in my classes, I could hold my own when it came to drawing an army scene or the Green Lantern. I didnít see that art was much use anyway, as my aptitude test said I was going to be a park ranger when I grew up. But that was before I discovered that little heathen in the wolf suit. From then on, I wanted to illustrate childrenís books. Not cute childrenís books, but books for kids like me.

I can look back now and say, "And thatís just what I did, "but it wasnít that easy. My fatherís reaction was, "What!, Maybe we can work on his math a bit." Even after he came around, I faced years of studying art and about a million rejection letters on the road to getting published. But I learned a lot along the way. I learned how to load a restaurant dishwasher and how to create "exciting and dynamic seasonal displays for the retail shopping industry." I learned that gallery shows do not a fortune make and that when you draw a Snidely Whiplash mustache on the portrait of George Washington youíve created for a Smithsonian audiovisual product, curators are not amused.

Having been Mr. Mom for years now, Iíve learned the most valuable lessons of all: Junior will not play quietly for five hours while Daddy does a little work, and you should never work with colored pencils around a white couch.

I live in Baltimore, Maryland, with my very patient wife, Dara, and our two wild things, Connor and Noah. My studio is in the attic, which provides an inspirational view of the alley below.

A few of the books Kevin O'Malley illustrated.
Kevin O'Malley's Webpage and information about school visits.

Page two of Kevin O'Malley's resume ~~