Meet the Artist: Alison Hawkins

by gabimaudiere | February 26, 2020 | Children's Books, Meet the Artist, On Our Radar

WMP: Where did you grow up, and what did you study in school?

AH: I grew up in the Washington, DC area. In college, I studied Art History and Anthropology.

WMP: When were you growing up, did you ever experience a noisy classroom?

AH: I was a shy kid, and I can definitely relate to the feeling of being nervous in a new class or social situation.

WMP: Did you have any tactics that helped you overcome the feeling of being shy in school?

AH: Similar to our main character in The Noisy Classroom, I had some experiences that seemed scary at first, but when I was brave enough to confront them, it turned out to be pretty fun. 

WMP: Did you always know you were going to be an artist?

AH: Yes and no. I always loved drawing and painting and had a lot of support and encouragement for this hobby.

WMP: Do you have any favorite children’s books you remember reading growing up?

AH: One thing I used to love doing as a kid was copying the drawings in my books, especially cartoons like Shel Silverstein’s Light in the Attic and Gary Larson’s Far Side. I spent a lot of time doing this.

WMP: What are you most inspired by?

AH: I loved illustrating this story. Teaching is an important and special profession. It was really cool to see the photos Angela shared of her real noisy class. I thought about teachers and classmates I had as a kid while I was working. My third-grade teacher gave me a sketchbook and told me to stop drawing on my homework! Ha.

WMP: Is drawing this kind of representation something that fuels the work you do?

AH: It’s great that people are talking about this and making changes in their respective industries. I think it can only be a meaningful thing in shaping the way people see themselves and others.

WMP: Is your art often shaped by the politics/world around you?

AH: Politics and the world around us can be overwhelming. Now especially. My art at the moment compels me to take a stand in the opposite direction, to put out art that is joyful, sincere and inspiring. 

WMP: What is one message you hope a reader will take with them from reading The Noisy Classroom?

AH: I hope that readers might be inspired to try something that seems scary.

WMP: What advice would you give for children who want to be or use art in their lives when they grow up?

AH: Encourage kids to keep a sketchbook or journal. It’s a simple way to play be creative. If you have the resources available, think about enrolling your kids in art classes. Having the opportunity to learn from peers can be really supportive. 

Quickfire Questions with Alison!

  • Favorite book of all time?

Could. Never. Chose.

  • Favorite reading snack?

Coffee.

  • If you could have one super power what would it be?

Mind control!

  • If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Pizza. Definitely.

  • If you could be any character from any book, who or what would you be?

Hermione.