My name is… Gina Perry. And also Gina Carey. And sometimes Mrs. Carey or, my favorite from my daughter’s friend, Ms. Gina. I am one of three girls so I use my maiden name to keep the Perry name going. I also grew up on Perry Street and still deeply miss the days when everyone would ask, “Is it named after you, or is it just a coincidence?”
I am a… children’s book writer and illustrator, mom to two kids, lifelong New Englander, and potato chip tester (unofficially, but I’m still very committed).
As a kid… I loved books, drawing, and video games pretty equally. I filled my sketchbook with characters for game ideas that I had. And NERDS (like the candy). Food was inspiring even back then. Adventure and mystery games were my favorite, but I was a loyal Super Mario Bros. fan as well.
Writing is… a surprise career. I have always kept journals and loved creative writing classes but I honestly did not imagine it would be part of my career until I was in my thirties. I went to art school and always worked in that field, so while I love illustration and find it really challenging, it’s the career that I planned. Writing for work is so unexpected and enjoyable. It’s a totally different process from creating visual art, but I absolutely love letting my imagination run wild, then attempting to wrangle it into a good story.
Illustrating is… endlessly challenging — in a great way! Can you picture all the different objects and people and animals and places in this big world? That’s actually my job! From drawing something new and simple (a jar of bowtie pasta!) to researching and interpreting in my own way (squirrel monkeys!), illustration is my ticket to the world.
Reading is… for everyone. Not every book is, however. And that is totally OK! I love seeing what my kids and other kids choose to dive into.
Books are… so hard to make! It is really hard to trust that your idea can grow and be shaped into a real book, but you just have to keep working away.
Did you know… even though I love my quiet work time and am generally shy, I love reading my books to groups of kids AND drawing with them.
You can even find lots of free printable drawing sheets on my website at: www.ginaperry.com/printables/.
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Gina Perry is an author and illustrator working under the tall pines in New Hampshire. She grew up in Massachusetts, drawing, playing with yarn, and burning through all the books in the library. Gina went to Syracuse University and worked in animation and as an art director before realizing that children’s books were her true calling. Her picture book debut as author/illustrator, Small (little bee books, 2017), is an empowering story about a small girl in the city, who shows us what happens if you take one big and brave step. Her other books include Too Much Not Enough (Tundra, 2018) and a yet untitled picture book (Tundra, Summer 2019). Visit her at ginaperry.com or on Twitter @ginamarieperry or Instagram @ginapineapple.