The Fascinating World of Author-Illustrator Lisa Horstman at May Guild Meeting
Lisa Horstman, an award-winning author and illustrator of children's books, will be bringing her unique talents into focus at the Thursday, May 6 meeting of the Knoxville Writers' Guild. Horstman plans to give a presentation of her current creative approach, which employs stop-motion handcrafted puppets and digital artwork. She'll also be relating to those in attendance the many ways in which her career course has evolved over the years.
The meeting, which will be open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. at the Laurel Theater, at the corner of Laurel Avenue and 16th Streets (in Fort Sanders). A $1 donation is requested at the door. The building is handicapped accessible.
Horstman's singular artistic gifts evidence themselves in the recently-published Squawking Matilda (Marshall Cavendish; Tarrytown, NY). The title character of this book is a sassy, high-maintenance chicken that's been placed into the hands of a well-intentioned young girl with too many ideas swirling about in her head. The bird, the child and those with whom they interact had all been three-dimensionally realized by Horstman before they wound up on the printed page. From her character sketches, Lisa had created armatures that would soon be draped in wool fibers and clothed with costumes she had fashioned herself. Sculpting had also entered the picture here, for her literary beings are ones with actual puppet heads and hands. These creatures had gone about their paces in the context of their creator's engaging storyline, photographed in stop-motion style. Taken into another realm, they were then digitally colored and set against backgrounds that Horstman had digitally composed. The finished product of this multi-faceted, painstaking work is something in which adults as well as kids can delight and marvel. "I have a lot of my own heart in this book," Horstman says of Squawking Matilda, "It is my favorite of anything I've ever published."
Lisa Horstman was raised on an Ohio farm where, at age seven, she illustrated a poster for her town's card party that won her a prize. During the 1976 Bicentennial, her illustration of Betsy Ross scoffing a bowlful of Corn Flakes made her a Kellogg's contest winner. Lisa was by then also a book-crazy girl who loved to write stories. Somewhere along the way, the thought occurred to her that she might be able join her interests and make a living as an author-illustrator. Horstman relocated to Knoxville in 1988, for a job as a designer on Whittle Communications' Travel Life magazine. In 1994 her first children's book, Fast Friends, won her a Dr. Seuss Picture Book Award and a Random House contract.
From 1995 until 2002, Lisa served as the art director for Metro Pulse. She has since 1999 designed part-time for the Great Smoky Mountain Association, for whom she contributes to Smokies Life magazine, field guides and a fiction series. Horstman has also had an affiliation with the National Park Service, resulting in a number of picture books in which she has been credited as either author-illustrator or illustrator. They include: Wee Ones, The Troublesome Cub, One Baby Mountain Goat and The Great Smoky Mountain Salamander Ball. Two picture books are in the works for Lisa. "One is about a monkey family," she says. "The other is more history-oriented and may have more of a storybook format."
Lisa Horstman has the gift of bringing pictures and words together to captivating effect. Her approach to her craft is nothing short of fascinating - and this one will discover first-hand at the May 6 meeting of the Knoxville Writers' Guild.