Mercer Mayer Author Study

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DHORTON

Mercer Mayer
Mercer Mayer was born in 1943, and has been writing and illustrating children’s books for almost forty years. As a child Mayor moved all the country with his family, because his father was in the Navy. I believe that this was an influential factor in determining his success. His pictures are drawn without signifying any particular region, which helps children to create an emotional attachment to the story. Mayor’s family settled down in Hawaii when he was a thirteen years old. He had attended the Honolulu Academy of the Arts for a year when he realized that he wanted to illustrate children’s books. He tells, "I always liked to draw, and one day I decided I had nothing to lose, so I made a lot of sketches and began to peddle them." Mayer did this against the advice of his professors who believed that he didn’t have enough talent to succeed at it. In 1964, he moved to New York in an attempt to find work as an illustrator. While He received art training from the Arts Students League. After being turned down countless times, he was given advice from a harsh art director, insisting that he throw away his entire portfolio, because it was so terrible. As difficult as this was for Mayer to hear, he eventually took the man’s advice. With an empty portfolio, Mayer began to draw things that he remembered from his childhood, and shortly after he was chosen to illustrate his first book.

Mayer’s first solo book was published, in 1967, and it was well-received by critics. It was a wordless book called A Boy, a Dog, and His Frog, and it was the first in a series of five. Mayer is given credit as being one of the creators of the wordless picture book. He continued for a while as an illustrator only, and completed the illustrations for almost 80 books. It was later on when he felt comfortable enough to add his own text to the drawings. One aspect of his style of illustrating is that he always includes humorous objects in the background of his...
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