Steven Kellogg has written and/or illustrated more than 100 books over the past half century, including his well-know series about Pinkerton the Great Dane and his tall tales about classic American characters like Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, and Johnny Appleseed. He has always loved to draw and the way that pictures can deepen and expand the text of a story — creating what he calls a "beautiful duet."
You can watch the interview below, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Steven Kellogg, or see a selected list of his children's books. (This video is also available on YouTube and iTunes.)
Steven Kellogg was born in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1941. He fell in love with writing and drawing as a very young child, and was especially drawn to the illustrations and stories of Beatrix Potter and N.C. Wyeth. Kellogg had wonderful reading role models as a child: a grandmother who read books like Gone with the Wind through a magnifying glass, and an aunt who always gave books as gifts on Christmas and for birthdays. He also shared a fun tradition with his two younger sisters, an activity they called "telling stories on paper." Kellogg would sit between them with a stack of paper on his lap and a pencil in his hand, making up fanciful stories and creating quick illustrations one after another to accompany the tales.
Kellogg went on to study illustration at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design where he had the chance to learn about the art and design of picture books. After graduation, Kellogg began submitting picture book ideas to publishers and after his first acceptance has never looked back. For years, Kellogg lived and worked in an old farmhouse in the hills of Connecticut with his wife and six stepchildren, who he has dedicated many of his books to. Kellogg now works out of an old yellow barn overlooking by the shore of Lake Champlain, where he surrounds himself with story ideas and his artist's tools. Research is an important part of Kellogg's process, and he considers research to be an adventure as exciting as space travel! So is figuring out the magical interplay between text and images (he likens it to filmmaking and the creation of "moving pictures") where each contributes to the pacing, pleasure, and meaning of the story.
Kellogg is a devoted animal lover and he has always enjoyed putting animals in his books. The famous Pinkerton series is based on Kellogg's family dog, the real Pinkerton. Kellogg says, "It was the spirit of his personality and obstreperous imaginative mischief gave rise to my imaginative concoctions that evolved into plots for the Pinkerton books."