Monica Wellington was born in London and lived in Switzerland and Germany as a child. She has written and illustrated many books for young children, including Apple Farmer Annie, Zinnia’s Flower Garden, My Leaf Book, and Mr. Cookie Baker. She now lives in New York City. Some of her favorites things are: baking desserts, eating chocolate, traveling to France, going to ballet, and reading at home with her cat Zoe on her lap. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts.
I usually start a book visually, with an idea of pictures I want to paint. I start making sketches before I even write any words. There are many stages of working on a book. I do research and collect reference pictures. I draw little thumb-nail sketches, and then bigger more detailed sketches. I make sample books, called dummies, with words and pictures in black and white. Then I start to plan out my colors and how I’m to paint the illustrations. All along I’m showing my work to my editor and we go back and forth, making changes and adjustments. Painting the final pictures in color is my favorite part but it is the last step of a long process that takes me 6 months to 2 years, depending on the book.
Hansel and Gretel was my favorite story. I lived in Germany and Switzerland when I was young, close to forests, just like in this fairy tale. The story was both scary and exciting, and seemed very real to me. The pictures were filled with tempting candies, and I have always loved delicious sweets!
In addition to being an author and illustrator, I want to work in a bakery in Paris. I want to learn how to make baguettes and fancy cakes. I also want to try to speak French all day with the customers, while I’m wrapping up the delicious patisseries for them.
I love going to ballet performances, ever since I was very young and my mother first brought me. I also brought my daughter when she was little, and now she is grown up and dances for New York City Ballet, and I often go to Lincoln Center to see her dance! She inspired my newest book that will be out in 2019: Dear Ballerina.
I love to bicycle in cities, swim in the sea, travel to new places, and discover new chocolate shops and bakeries.