Once upon a time there was a boy who liked to draw – a lot. His brother taught him to draw a face, his brother’s friends were impressed, and he has been perfecting his art ever since.
David Biedrzycki of Medfield has been an illustrator since he was four years old.
He has written and/or illustrated 20 books including “Me and My Dragon,” about a boy raising a dragon as if it were a puppy, which was released in March. This is the seventh book Biedrzycki has both authored and illustrated.
“I’ve always been an illustrator,” said Biedrzycki, who grew up in Pennsylvania and moved to Boston after college. “I did a lot of advertising work in the 80s and 90s.”
In fact, in addition to enjoying his children’s books, many families may unknowingly enjoy his artwork in their own kitchen – with the apple on Mott’s apple juice and applesauce, and the cow on Hood vanilla milk.
As a child, Biedrzycki used to draw all the time, to the point that it got him in trouble in grade school.
“My fourth grade teacher made a deal with me,” said Biedrzycki in his biography at his website. “If I completed all of my classroom assignments correctly she would let me draw as long as I wanted. She even used to bring things in for me to draw. She entered one of my drawings into a contest at a local museum. When it got into the show I was very excited. It won first place for the fourth grade students.”
As an adult, he was illustrating some non-fiction books about bugs when he was bitten by the idea of “Ace Lacewig: Bug Detective.”
“While I was doing the research, the idea came to me of a bug with a fedora [hat] and the overcoat…he looked pretty cool,” said Biedrzycki. “Since I did so much research on bugs and bug biology, I thought of a lot of characters: Dung beetles were trash guys, glow worms made great street lamps; and for the buildings, there is a big beehive in the middle of the city, Termite Heights has tunnels and hills which are pretty majestic when you see them.”
The author/illustrator said he keeps a notebook or journal with him at all times, and has an “idea wall” in his Medfield studio.
“Whatever idea I really like, I put it on the idea wall,” he said. “Then I start to add some words to the images and, if things look like they’re coming together, then I start to develop a [story] idea from that.”
Today, he shares those tips and others when he speaks to school children all around the world about his creative process.
“Every time I do a school visit, I show the progression from the sketches to the final,” said Biedrzycki, who makes about 70 school presentations (45 or 60 minutes) a year. “They like the simplistic way I go about showing them an idea that has been turned into a book…I do it really fast… By the end, they’re just rolling around on the floor they’re having such a good time."
The hope, he says, is to inspire and encourage young artists.
And perhaps live happily ever after, in Medfield, like Biedrzycki with his wife Kathy, and their three children Justin, Alec and Julia.