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Fords in Four: Meet Thomas Booth '02
The Haverford School

1. What are the keys to the creative process?

A healthy balance of patience and mistakes. Creative solutions don't come easily, so I try to develop multiple good ideas quickly until a great idea presents itself. By producing a glut of rough work at a fast pace I can effectively stop myself from thinking too much, which frees up my mind a bit to discover something new. This also applies to developing a skill. Like most people who draw, paint, design, and create, I'm always tempted to redraw a pose I've perfected, or use a color scheme that worked for an old illustration. The real challenge and growth lies in forcing yourself to fail by trying what's different.

2. Note a memorable Haverford School experience.

All the art teachers, and my classmates, at Haverford were a constant source of support and inspiration, but I think I learned the most from Mr. Fox. I still remember seeing his work for the first time, and feeling a huge sense of accomplishment when he told me he thought I'd done a great job on my first oil painting, which I've kept above my old bed at home. Given my recent publishing accomplishments, I'm inclined to say the most memorable experience these days is hearing Mr. Fox tell my classmates they might see my work long after we graduated. Fortunately for me, he was right!

3. What doesn't our community know about you?

I moonlight as an author and illustrator of children's picture books. Most of my recent work is done digitally, although I always make time to work with ink, gouache, and oil on occasion. I live with my girlfriend Jen and our two cats, although deep down I've always wanted a St. Bernard.

Tom Booth - Night at the Stadium

All the art teachers, and my classmates, at Haverford were a constant source of support and inspiration, but I think I learned the most from Mr. Fox. I still remember seeing his work for the first time, and feeling a huge sense of accomplishment when he told me he thought I'd done a great job on my first oil painting, which I've kept above my old bed at home.

4. How did you find your niche in children's book illustration?

Despite looking and sounding like an adult, I'm actually very immature and obsessed with books, movies, and video games designed for people who are much smaller and younger than me. Think Tom Hanks in BIG. Further, I'm fascinated by simple stories with powerful messages that can stick with us for a lifetime. I'm always on the lookout for the small beginnings of a bigger story. It's those little things that are the building blocks of lasting moments. For me, that's the good stuff.

Tom Booth is a character designer and illustrator who has worked in both animation and publishing with the likes of Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Workman Publishing, and Nicktoons. Tom made his earliest marks — sometimes on his parents' antique kitchen table — growing up in Pennsylvania. Now living in Brooklyn, NY, Tom is currently at work on several picture books on a table all his own. Read more about Tom >

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